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Deputies, Jailers Undergoing Training in Cameron Co.

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BROWNSVILLE – Cameron County sheriff’s deputies and jailers are training to better identify and assist suspects with mental illness.

Sheriff Omar Lucio said his department of nearly 500 employees are preparing in anticipation of a new law that’ll go into effect Sept. 1.

Lucio said it’s crucial for jailers to be able to recognize inmates with mental issues more effectively.

The new law requires jailers and deputies to have 40 hours of training to be ready to deal with things like PTSD, psychosis and drug abuse.

So far 60 employees have started training.

"When you go answer a call or somebody who has been arrested, and is here in jail, and they start telling you I hear voices, or someone is talking to me or God talked to me or the devil talked to me, well then you have to realize that, hey, there's something wrong with this individual. It's not because he was drinking the night before, or because they took some medication, but because he's got problems. So, once you understand that then you know what is the next step that you may need to do, especially if he's here with us,” Lucio said.

He said there is already one jailer in charge of making rounds to check each cell every 15 minutes.

They also work with local and state entities to provide mental health help to inmates that need it. 

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