Mental Health Training in Law Enforcement

Peace officers in California and across the nation are frequently called upon to manage incidents involving people with mental illness in crisis. Specialized training on the topic of mental health helps to prepare peace officers to resolve these incidents in a safe and effective manner. This webpage is designed to provide current information and resources on mental health training for law enforcement.

Mental Health Training in the Regular Basic Course

Effective initial training in the Regular Basic Course (RBC) is crucial if a law enforcement academy trainee is to acquire the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to mature into a peace officer who renders high-quality service. Before trainees graduate from the RBC, they must complete training on subject matter that covers 42 different law enforcement topics. Each identified topic is called a Learning Domain. One of the topics covered is Learning Domain 37: People with Disabilities (LD37). It provides trainees instruction on disability laws, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and mental illness.

Continuing Professional Training and Perishable Skills/Communications Training

Continuing Professional Training (CPT) and Perishable Skills/Communications Program (PSP) training updates and/or refresher courses are required for certain peace officer and dispatch personnel who are employed by POST participating departments. The purpose of CPT and PSP training is to maintain, update, expand, and/or enhance an individual’s knowledge and/or skills.

CPT exceeds the training required to meet or requalify in entry-level minimum standards. Every peace officer (other than a level III Reserve Peace Officer), Public Safety Dispatcher, and Public Safety Dispatch Supervisor shall satisfactorily complete the CPT requirement of 24 or more hours of POST-qualifying training during every 2-year CPT cycle. A portion of the CPT requirement may be satisfied when a peace officer completes a POST-Certified Mental Health training course.

PSP training is required of all peace officers (except reserve officers) below the middle management position and assigned to patrol, traffic, or investigation who routinely effect the physical arrest of criminal suspects. PSP training satisfies a portion of the required 24 hours of CPT. The PSP training requirement of 2 hours every 2 years in “communication” (either tactical or interpersonal) may be satisfied when a peace officer completes a POST-Certified Mental Health training course that meets the minimum content and exercises for Communications.

Mental Health Training and Resources

There are a variety of mental health training courses, conferences, and resources available to California law enforcement to learn more about mental health.

The Crisis Intervention Team

The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is a community partnership between law enforcement, county health services, mental health advocates, and mental health consumers. The CIT addresses the needs of mental health consumers who enter the judicial system when they are in a crisis state.


POST is authorized to approve Plan IV Reimbursements for peace officers and dispatchers attending POST-certified mental health training courses.