In the early 2000s, Burnsville Police Officer Dave Zerwas responded to a call that he will never forget -- a brutal homicide committed by someone who had earlier been diagnosed with a mental illness.
"I feel strongly that if he had been able to get into treatment, this woman would still be alive,” said Zerwas, now a Sergeant in the Burnsville Police Department.
Zerwas took the knowledge that there is not enough help out there for people suffering mental illness, and began dedicating his career in law enforcement to help people deal with the challenges that arise as a result.
Since 2005, Zerwas has lead Burnsville’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT). The CIT is a group of officers (now nearly the entire department) that has been trained to work in situations where people are experiencing a mental health crisis.
Working hand-in-hand with the Dakota County Crisis Response Unit (CRU) – another group of professionals trained in suicide and crisis intervention – Burnsville’s CIT focuses on getting people comfortable with law enforcement, reacting and responding patiently, and helping people learn what do when a friend or family member is in crisis.
Additional information about Burnsville's Crisis Intervention Team will be published in the Winter 2017 Burnsville Bulletin.
Chief of Police
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