TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As the mental health epidemic continues to escalate across the country, law enforcement agencies in the Capital Region are adapting to meet those challenges. The Troy Police Department shows how mental health training is reducing their need to use force when de-escalating a situation.

The Emotionally Distressed Persons Response Team (EDPRT) training started in Rochester in 2004 and came to Troy Police Department in 2006. Cpt. Matthew Montanino is the coordinator of the program in Troy.

The 40-hour weeklong training includes classes and workshops on topics like identifying an emotional disturbance or symptom of mental illness, developing communication skills, suicide intervention, and reviewing mental illnesses, trauma, mental hygiene law, local community resources, and mental health issues related to veterans, the elderly, and juveniles.

Since 2006, more than 350 officers have completed the training. Montanino says he has police departments from across the state reaching out to have their officers attend the training.

This most recent training included 37 students (police and peace officers) from the Troy, Rensselaer, East Greenbush, Cohoes, Waterford police departments, the Rensselaer and Saratoga County sheriff’s offices, New York State Police, Rensselaer County Probation, and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Hudson Valley Community College public safety departments.

On Friday, the 37 officers will graduate from training in a ceremony at the Bulmer Telecommunications Center at Hudson Valley Community College, where their training took place.