Six area Law Enforcement Officers participated last week in a regional Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program. The specialized program, funded by Adirondack Health Institute (AHI), trains officers to become better-prepared first responders in traumatic situations involving people with mental illness and other challenges.
Hosted by Adirondack Health Institute, the Council for Prevention, and the Office of Community Services of Warren and Washington Counties, the intensive 40-hour course provides tools for officers to recognize psychiatric distress and other conditions, and techniques to de-escalate crises, helping to avoid officer injuries, lessen trauma for the individual and prevent tragedy for the community. The program is a collaborative effort of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, Glens Falls Police Department, Glens Falls Hospital, and other area community agencies.
“Law Enforcement Officers are often the first to respond to emergency calls involving individuals with serious mental health issues, substance use disorders and other challenges,” explained Rebecca Evansky, Manager, Prevention Projects, Adirondack Health Institute. “Improving police response in harrowing situations such as these is of growing significance in the mental health community and criminal justice system, and Adirondack Health Institute and our partners are pleased to be able to support the implementation of this important initiative.”
“The CIT program will help us all on so many levels,” stated Warren County Undersheriff Shawn Lamouree. “Not only will it help provide us a better understanding of serious mental health illnesses, it will also strengthen collaboration between law enforcement, health systems, providers, community agencies, and individuals with mental illness and their families. We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity to come together to learn new skills to help our fellow community members.”
The CIT program is a model for community policing that provides officers with best practices for linking people to appropriate treatment, positively impacting the recovery process and reducing recidivism. Research shows CIT training reduces arrests, the use of restraint, citizen and police injuries, and hospitalizations, greatly improving the safety of all involved.