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Suicide attempts on the rise in Blackfoot

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BLACKFOOT, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A rise in suicide attempts is leading the Blackfoot Police Department to focus on critical incident training.

“Attempted suicides are starting to go through the roof, especially over a three year period,” said Captain Gordon Croft.

Suicide attempts have risen 15 to 20 percent without a clear reason why, Croft said.

“I can’t put my finger on what is causing people to make these decisions,” Croft said.

One possibility could be the correlated rise of opioid and heroine use in southeast Idaho.

“Majority of the time they are inebriated, intoxicated, whether it be on alcohol or some type of illicit drug. It is definitely more frequent with that,” Croft said.

Police are looking for ways to combat this issue.

The number of completed suicides has remained fairly consistent in the past few years, according to police. Croft attributes that to the field training officers go through during the academy.

While the field training has been helpful to Blackfoot PD, it's not enough. Their next step is to expand critical incident training, or CIT, which is not mandated for officers.

“We’re really trying to focus on getting all our officers through CIT. We have probably half that have been through it and we have a big push in 2020 to implement CIT for all of our officers,” Croft said.

Blackfoot officers who have gone through CIT typically go to other departments in the area for training, which can be costly and time consuming.

With the department's new focus on CIT, they plan to have certified trainers in house.

“It makes it much more cost effective on the city to send officers within our agency to get them as certified trainers and bring that training back and teach the rest of our officers within the department,” Croft said.

If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, you can call the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at 208-398-4357 or the Southeast Idaho Behavioral Crisis Center at 208-909-5177.

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Emma Iannacone

Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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