a community initiative to improve crisis interventions
I have found that Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training helps officers change their overall mindset on mental illness. CIT helps officers understand the complexities of mental illness and it equips them with new tools that will help them help others. If we are going to be successful we need a true partnership between police, community, mental health providers, the consumers and their families.
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training has provided greater collaboration and partnerships with community organizations and law enforcement agencies to positively and proactively address concerns, and when responding to a mental health crisis call-for-service. Specifically, the Dane County area has expanded and developed new specialized police responses within law enforcement agencies as a direct result of bringing the CIT training to south central Wisconsin.
So many of our contacts involve citizens battling some form of mental illness. Learning to recognize the signs, how to best communicate, and what to avoid saying will translate well into most calls for service. Learning more of my county’s services was invaluable.
Each and every time we provide services, we strive to treat people with Respect, Integrity, Compassion and Honor (RICH). It does not matter whether the person is going through a mental health crisis, is suspected of committing a crime or they are the victim of a crime. We also need to approach people in a non-judgmental non-confrontational way. Those who are suffering a mental health crisis are not always aware of their actions nor are they able to respond to traditional police techniques. In these cases we must slow down and switch gears. Overall, we need to break the cycle of criminalizing those suffering from mental illness and get them help just like we would for any other medical condition.
The most rewarding part [of being a CIT trained officer] is knowing that you took a difficult situation and handled it appropriately-that your response was compassionate, correct and legal. That I “did the right thing.” There is a deep satisfaction and peace of mind in knowing that everyone involved has “won” in the end. Mental health care consumers have been advocating for better police service for years and being able to deliver that is a very good feeling.
[We] were sent to a med call on 5/24/13. Dispatch advised that the caller said her 18 year old son had been down in the basement talking to the TV for the past 3 days. I arrived on scene with rescue and was able to calm the subject down and recognize some of the signs of his mental illness. I could see how this situation could have turned into a dangerous situation for officers if I had not received CIT training. Once the subject had arrived at the hospital I was the only one he would talk to and had to calm him down several times. To say that the CIT training that I received was helpful would be an understatement. Several people including the Crisis worker complemented me on my ability to work with the subject. I wanted to pass this along to the CIT training team and tell them to keep up the good work!
This experience was very insightful into what these individuals go through on a daily basis. I believe every law enforcement officer should go through this experience. It teaches, how we as law enforcement, should approach an individual experiencing a mental health crisis in a more sensitive and understanding manner. Very effective learning tool.
Excellent scenarios! Fantastic role players! Good feedback by instructors and watching other officers was helpful. I learned new tactics and new approaches. The instructors are very knowledgeable with real life experience.
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