Florida Partners in Crisis and the CIT Coalition hosted a Board of Directors and Membership meeting in Orlando this week. CIT stands for Crisis Intervention Teams and these groups of individuals are law enforcement, correctional officers and dispatchers who are trained on how to identify persons with mental illness and de-escalate situations when a person with mental illness comes into contact with law enforcement.
Lt. George Welch from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office presented on the training that law enforcement agencies in Collier County have received. Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the Naples Police Department and the Marco Island Police Department are using CIT officers when persons with mental illness come into contact with law enforcement. Sheriff Rambosk has made it a priority for CCSO and nearly every member of the CCSO has been trained, including all command staff. The idea is being shared with nearby agencies, spreading to Hendry County and the National Park Service. Lt. Welch also commended Lee County Sheriffs Office for their early involvement since 2004.
Numerous stories resonate through the community as to why CIT is a great resource for the Sheriff’s Offices throughout the state, but one Lt. Welch shared with the group speaks very loudly:
One “Type A” deputy sat through the 40 hour CIT training. He wasn’t interested in taking the course and preferred the “stop ‘em and book ‘em” mentality. One week later he was able to use the skills learned in CIT, identified a person with mental illness, de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation, and learned that through this method – there was less paperwork. This deputy quickly understood that there are better ways to handle certain cases.
Each community has success stories in which lives of law enforcement have been saved, victims have been prevented, and families are able to get treatment for their loved ones – when agencies adopt Crisis Intervention Teams. Additional success stories can be found at Success Stories. Share yours with us, email Tanesha Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Crisis Intervention Teams, click here: http://www.floridacit.org