Just weeks after Farmington police shot and killed Army veteran Justin Crowley-Smilek outside the town's police station, Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty set in motion a plan to teach law enforcement and corrections officers how to deal with people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The first fruits of that labor were seen Wednesday when more than three dozen first responders from agencies across the region took part in training aimed at recognizing PTSD and how to approach those who are suffering from it.
"We thought it was critical to form a dialogue," said Liberty, an Army veteran of the war in Iraq. "If the first responders have a more informed approach, maybe we can prevent something like that from happening again."
The half-day training held at City Center was created with support of VA Maine Healthcare Systems at Togus, said Capt. Marsha Alexander, administrator of the Kennebec County jail. Planning began in December, roughly a month after Crowley-Smilek, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, was shot multiple times while reportedly wielding a knife and threatening Farmington Police Officer Ryan Rosie.