City Council approves additional funding for Fresno Police crisis intervention training

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- When it comes to responding to emergency calls of a more delicate nature the Fresno Police Department now has a specialized unit to move in and keep the situation from escalating -- including domestic calls that involve a person with mental illness.

One sergeant and four officers are partnered up with mental health clinicians to form the crisis intervention team.

"We've now got some dedicated officers that are going to come in with a little different mindset some better training some more resources to try and get the best care the first time to those individuals that need it the most," said Fresno Police Sgt. Robert Dewey.

Officials say many calls that involve a 51 to 50 code take more to troubleshoot and resolve than the typical officer has time to figure out.

Trained members of the crisis intervention team were called in Thursday to defuse a situation after a man dealing with mental health issues threatened individuals on a FAX bus.

"That different mindset that says we're not so concerned with the criminal aspect of what the call may be we're more concerned with the individual," said Dewey.

Fresno's crisis intervention team was started back in September but according to officials, resources are running thin.

On Thursday City Council unanimously approved Chief Jerry Dyer's request for additional funding.

It is the first hurdle before the department gets final approval from the board of supervisors next month.

"It's a million plus over a five year period. It funds five patrol vehicles for officers, some computers, a specific piece of equipment that we can utilize in the field," said Police Chief Jerry Dyer.
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