SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – All sworn San Jose police officers will be required to undergo crisis intervention team training that will help them better handle calls involving people with mental illness, police said Monday.

City officers will need to attend the CIT training academy starting in September.

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The department currently has 350 officers who have completed the 40-hour academy, but they don’t work on patrol shifts where the training is needed, police said.

“This training will enhance the safety of both our officers and individuals suffering from mental illness,” police Chief Eddie Garcia said in a statement.

“We want to give our officers the tools necessary to deal with these situations in an effort to safely diffuse possible confrontations,” Garcia said.

The program also aims to move mentally ill people from the judicial system and refer them to health care services based on the case, police said.

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Through the training, the department seeks to link those with mental illness and their families to services, according to police.

The academy, which started in 1999, is put on with help from the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Santa Clara County Mental Health Department.

“Quite simply, this type of training can help save lives and I’d like to thank the chief for making sure that all of our officers are equipped with crisis intervention skills,” Mayor Sam Liccardo said in a statement.

“This is another step we can take to ensure that the San Jose Police Department remains the most trusted, professional and well-trained police force in the country,” Liccardo said.

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