BELL COUNTY, Texas – Twenty Fort Hood soldiers are now officially trained in Crisis Intervention after spending a week with the Bell County Sheriff’s Department.

It is the first time the two have partnered to train for such a sensitive topic. Both departments are calling the partnership vital, saying it’s a way to demonstrate that not every stop or encounter has to end with an arrest.

“Mental health is a big issue here and it helps soldiers, they are dealing with it on a daily basis too on Fort Hood as is in the civilian side of law enforcement,” said Major T.J. Cruz with the Bell County Sheriff’s Department.

Fort Hood military police officers trained for 40 hours on how to handle situations that could easily be life or death.

“The more training and experience that our soldiers have in responding to these type of calls, the better that we are able to help the Fort Hood population at the end of the day,” said Captain Kristian Hill, Commander of 178 Law and Order Detachment on Fort Hood.

Teaching soldiers to be open to sensitive situations.

“I think it’s very important to be flexible and adaptive to what our current environment is when it comes to communication and de escalation in mental health,” said Sgt. Teresa Phelps, Mental Health Training with the Bell County Sheriff’s Department.

First Lieutenant Zachary Toler says he sees at least one mental health call every day on Fort Hood.

“It really opens up our perspective on things and allows us to react appropriately based on that individuals situation,” said Toler. “It’s amazing now looking back on the experiences that I have had on the road and learning now thinking back to what could I have done better based on what I know now.”

All 20 soldiers received diplomas Friday afternoon for the completion of the training.

The Bell County Sheriff’s Department hopes to continue this program for years to come.