DECATUR, Ga. -- DeKalb County Sheriff's Office will be requiring crisis intervention training for all deputies and officers in contact with suspects or inmates, Sheriff Jeffrey Mann announced on Thursday.

The decision comes as jail statistics show the DeKalb County Sheriff's Office as the largest mental health services provider in the county.

"Some 15 to 20 percent of the average 33,000 annual inmates in custody at the DeKalb County Jail each year are diagnosed on intake with mental health issues," Sheriff Mann said. "This means that our staff must also have awareness and skills related to inmate behavior resulting from mental illness."

Mann said that his office now requires those in contact with inmates or arrestees to complete the 40-hour Georgia Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training Program - a joint effort between several mental health individuals and organizations such as Georgia's chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

“CIT training adds another level of sensitivity to our staff’s approach to individuals who may be experiencing mental health challenges,” says Sheriff Mann.

The sheriff's office reports that nearly 50 percent of eligible deputies and officers have already completed the CIT program.