Unprecedented mental health training for DCSO deputies

Nashville-Davidson County Sheriff’s Office is the first in country to require Correctional Behavioral Health Certification for all officers who deal daily with mentally ill inmates.

Nashville-Davidson County Sheriff’s Office is the first in country to require Correctional Behavioral Health Certification for all officers who deal daily with mentally ill inmates.

Nashville-Davidson County Sheriff Daron Hall announced Davidson County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) officers will begin training on how to better deal with mentally ill inmates. The DCSO will stand as the only agency in the country requiring Correctional Behavioral Health Certification (CBHC) for those officers who manage the mentally ill inmate population; 80 in all. The training, led by American Correctional Association (ACA) instructors includes managing disruptive inmates, suicide, prevention of self-injury, and crisis de-escalation.

“As many in Nashville already know, I am passionate about the subject of decriminalization of the mentally ill and how, as a city, we can do better. We know at least 30 percent of those we house in our jails are mentally ill,” Hall said. “Although we are moving towards an improved system by creating a behavioral care diversion unit, we must understand there will always be a segment of those incarcerated who can’t be diverted and must be dealt with in our facilities. I am failing in my job if I don’t give our deputies the tools to effectively and compassionately interact with this inmate population.”

The CBHC is the nation’s first standardized behavior health certification specifically developed for correctional professionals. With the purpose of equipping staff with improved knowledge, skills, and abilities to work with mentally ill inmates, the CBHC was developed by a team of nationally recognized corrections and mental health experts.

ACA Executive Director Jim Gondles adds, “Sheriff Daron Hall is leading the nation in behavior health training for his staff. Through this training, sheriff’s staff will be able to deal more effectively with inmates who are in jail and who have mental health issues. With the yearly increase of individuals being incarcerated who have mental health issues, jail professionals need the tools necessary to deal with these folks. This training equips staff to avert crisis, prevent injury to inmates and staff and ensures the work place is safe for everyone.I commend Sheriff Hall for this step forward in helping his fellow citizens who have mental health issues remain safe, and his staff remains secure.”

Hall emphasizes this investment is significant and will continue moving forward.

“On a continuing basis, every officer that deals with this population regularly will become certified in behavioral health. We plan future additional training for other staff as well,” Hall said. “I’m excited about this opportunity for our agency and encouraged we are moving another step closer to managing the mentally ill population more effectively.”