FORT SMITH, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A new batch of Fort Smith officers has been trained in crisis intervention.

The Fort Smith Police Department has a mental health unit made up of officers and mental health leaders.

Their job is to respond to mental health and substance abuse calls. The department wrapped up a 40-hour training class on May 20.

After two years, officers say this unit is needed in the community. “Mental health is very important in our community,” said Jacob Landers with the crisis intervention unit. “Our chief is very mental health-oriented and we have a lot of mental health issues within the Fort Smith community.”

“We’ve had a lot of cases, we deal with a lot of people, we’ve had a lot of success stories,” said Cheri Taylor with the crisis intervention unit. “We’re absolutely happy with everything that’s going on in the community. We get great feedback and everyone is thankful we’re here and helping people.”

The unit also works to make contact with those people who are struggling to get connected with community resources.