December 4th, 2016
Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) and de-escalation training for our police are incredibly vital for the safety of people with a mental health or substance abuse crisis who encounter law enforcement. We want to thank Senator Vincent Sheheen for leading the charge on this life saving solution oriented legislation. Rehinge has worked closely with Senator Sheheen to produce this bill that will help push CIT throughout the great state of SC. Now is the time for momentum so we can get a Judiciary sub-committee hearing immediately after it is read on the Senate floor in January. Please call and write your Senator and ask them to co-sponsor S. 173 the CIT and Police De-escalation Training Act.
The proposed legislation would require the S.C. Law Enforcement Training Council to create a Crisis Intervention Team training center and for every county to have at least one crisis intervention team. We need you to call, write, or email your local SC State Senator and tell them to co-sponsor Senate Bill S.173 so that it will reach a Judiciary Sub-Committee. This is an important first step towards getting this bill passed!
- Click Here for a list of all SC Senators
- Click Here to find your SC Senator
- Click Here to read the current version of Bill S.173
- Click Here to view contact information for SC Senators
Bob Montgomery of Go Upstate also wrote an article on the bill being pre-filed, and includes quotes from Paton Blough and Senator Sheheen.
Law enforcement in South Carolina would get more training in dealing with people having a mental health or substance abuse crisis under a bill that the state General Assembly could take up next year.
State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, a Camden Democrat who has made two runs for governor, pre-filed a bill on the issue this week. The proposed legislation mirrors a measure he introduced late in the Legislature’s last session that died in committee.
“We’ve got a real crisis in many of our hospitals and detention facilities where people who suffer mental health problems are dumped,” Sheheen told the Herald-Journal on Thursday.
The proposed legislation would require the S.C. Law Enforcement Training Council to create a crisis intervention training center and for every county to have at least one crisis intervention team.
Mental health advocate Paton Blough of Greenville said he met several times with Sheheen as the bill was put together.
“This solves some of the policing issues … and gives people help and hope,” said Blough, a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “It’s about human kindness. It’s giving officers more tools — not taking away Tasers or guns — to possibly de-escalate a situation and help the person in crisis avoid injury and maybe themselves an injury.”
“It’s long overdue,” Brown said. “It’s a needed bill. As you see, there are a number of situations in our court systems that unfortunately have a mental health aspect to them.”
Brown and Blough said they are hopeful the General Assembly will pass the bill because both Democrats and Republicans realize that having more officers trained to deal with mental illness and drug abuse can lead to better outcomes and reduced pressure on jails.
“It will help keep people out of prisons,” Blough said. “It’s exciting to see solutions that work being promoted in the state from both sides of the aisle with the support of advocates and police departments.”
We have also compiled a list of current SC Senators below with contact information that you can use:
|Rex||Rice||Send an Email|
|Michael||Gambrell||Send an Email|
|William||Timmons||Send an Email|
|Scott||Talley||Send an Email|
|Harvey S.||Peeler, Jr||803-212-6430||SMediComm@scsenate.gov|
|Wes||Climer||Send an Email|
|Mike||Fanning||Send an Email|
|John L.||Scott, Jr||803-212-6124||JohnScott@scsenate.gov|
|Mia||McLeod||Send an Email|
|Hugh K.||Leatherman, Sr||803-212-6640||SFinComm@scsenate.gov|
|Stephen||Goldfinch, Jr||Send an Email|
|J. Thomas||McElveen, III||803-212-6132||ThomasMcElveen@scsenate.gov|
|Sandy||Senn||Send an Email|