03/22/2017

CIT Training

PRESS RELEASE

Police officers are frequently called upon to respond to crisis situations, many times involving persons with serious mental illness. Historically officers who respond to these calls often lack any specialized training or knowledge in dealing with the mentally ill and their families.

During the Month of May, the Camden County Sheriff’s Department will be sending over a dozen deputies, dispatchers and correctional staff to a crisis intervention training. This training commonly is referred to as “CIT”. The CIT, Crisis Intervention Training, consists of 40 hours of training followed by an annual update for members. The CIT program is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health and addiction professionals, individuals who live with mental illness and/or addiction disorders, their families and other advocates. It is an innovative first-responder model of a police-based crisis intervention training to help persons with mental disorders and/or addictions access medical treatment rather than place them in the criminal justice system due to illness related behaviors. It promotes officer safety and the safety of the individual in crisis. The CIT provides a forum for effective problem solving regarding the interaction between the criminal justice and mental health care system and creates the context for sustainable change.

Basic Goals

  1. Improve Officer, Consumer and Community Safety
  2. Redirect Individuals with Mental Illness from the Judicial System to the Health Care System

Partnerships: Law Enforcement, Advocacy, Mental Health

  1. Central to the formation and success of CIT is the role of the Law Enforcement Community. Trained CIT Officers are able to interact with crisis situations using de-escalation techniques that improve the safety of the officer, consumer, and family members. In addition, the law enforcement community is able to provide care and help to consumers by transporting individuals in need of special treatment to appropriate facilities. It is also critical that law enforcement participate in the formation of CIT and engage in all elements of the planning and implementation stages.
  2. Participation from the Consumer and Advocate Community is critical to the success of CIT. This aspect of CIT brings the program to life by adding insight from those directly affected. This important partnership should be established early in the planning process and should continue as an ongoing operational element of CIT.
  3. Mental Health Professionals plays an important role in the successful implementation, development, and ongoing sustainability of CIT. These professionals provide treatment, education and training that result in a wide dissemination of knowledge and expertise to both individuals with a mental illness and patrol officers undergoing CIT training.

The Mental Health Crisis Response Institute use trained CIT law enforcement trainers to conduct CIT trainings.  Daily practical exercises with professional actors are used in the CIT training for realistic experiences to build de-escalation skills. 

According to Sheriff Tony Helms, making sure that Camden County’s first responders have the right training, practice, and preparations to de-escalate crisis situations safely and effectively is one of the most essential things that we can do to keep everyone in Camden County safe. These efforts are a part of Sheriff Helm’s commitment to improving emergency response training, and ensuring that those in need of mental health services are getting the care they need most.

 
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