Beginning next year, the Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will review all of the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training’s mental health education prior to it being offered to officers.
Earlier this year, an investigation by The Frontier found that much of the mental health training offered as continuing education to Oklahoma law enforcement seemingly had little to do with mental health. To remain certified in Oklahoma, every police officer must take 25 hours of continuing education, two hours of which must be related to mental health.
Classes about “report writing,” “strip searches,” and a course on “Radical Islam & the Muslim World” counted for credit for mental health training that law enforcement in Oklahoma is mandated to receive. In the wake of The Frontier’s story in September, in which a CLEET official said that the agency relied on the “honor system” to ensure the training it offered was appropriate, CLEET has revamped the system by which it catalogs mental health training. The “Radical Islam & the Muslim World” class, which was offered by an outside company called the Oklahoma Regional Community Policing Institute, was removed.
CLEET primarily acts as a sort of clearing house when it comes to continuing education. Rather than write its own training, the agency catalogs training from outside companies and then offers it as credit to Oklahoma law enforcement.
In the past, CLEET would refer to this process as “accreditation.” But after CLEET operations manager Shannon Butler told The Frontier that “it’s not accreditation in the truest sense of the word,” and said CLEET took submissions “on good faith,” the agency removed all references to accreditation from its website.
Now, CLEET has entered into a partnership with OSDMH to review mental health curriculum, CLEET general counsel Preston Draper said.
“That training will be submitted to us, and we will forward it on to the department of mental health,” Draper said. “They’ll review it and if they say it looks good, we’ll catalog it and it can then be posted for presentation.”
Jeff Dismukes, communications director for OSDMH, said OSDMH initiated the process to make sure CLEET was meeting continuing education unit requirements.
“We just will be looking to see if (the training is) appropriate and if it is delivering the appropriate education,” Dismuskes said.
Draper told The Frontier that CLEET executive director Jesus Campa wants to ensure the agency has “the most modern and accurate training.”
“This is just a part of that process, so for us to have a partner that is willing to do that is fantastic for us,” he said.