"This is a big step:" Milwaukee to speed police training in handling of mentally ill

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — The family of Dontre Hamilton pushes for more police officer training, and city leaders jumped on board. It took less than a week for the plan to come together to speed up training so that all Milwaukee police officers will get training to deal with mentally ill people.

The Hamilton's met with Mayor Tom Barrett last week. They hammered out an initiative to have every Milwaukee police officer trained for crisis intervention situations within the next 2 years.

"This is a big step in the right direction. The main goal, is respect," said Nate Hamilton, Dontre Hamilton's brother.

Starting nearly 8 months ago.

"April 30th was a day of great pain for our family," said Nate.

April 30th was the day Dontre Hamilton was shot and killed in Red Arrow Park by Milwaukee Police Officer, Christopher Manney. Hamilton battled mental illness.

It's a situation his family believes may have had a different outcome if the officer had more training.

"No family ever wants to go through what they have gone through. It is a tragedy, we all agree that it is a tragedy," said Mayor Barrett.

That's why on this day, they stand side-by-side with Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee police, announcing a major initiative that every Milwaukee police officer will receive crisis intervention team training.

Mayor Tom Barrett said that about 400 officers have received the 40 hours of training to be certified under the Crisis Intervention Team program since 2006. But now they plan to get all officers trained by 2017. CIT training includes understanding ways to de-escalate situations and how to actively listen.

"We want them to use discretion, we want them to use an educated approach when dealing with these issues. It doesn't take away how we feel as a family with the loss of Dontre -- but what it is, is preventative work," said Nate.

With training, the Hamilton's hope, comes change.

"So that another family doesn't have to suffer, that another family might have the chance to see their loved one again," said Nate.

This does come at a $1.2 million cost. The Great Milwaukee Foundation is taking care of $500,000 of that.

The mayor says he is hopeful others will step up to take care of the rest.