Elaine Deck, Children's Mental Health Network Advisory Council member, has a great article in the latest NAMI newsletter on the effectiveness of Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT).
- Excerpt from the articleLaw Enforcement in Small and Rural Communities by Elaine Deck, former Senior Program Manager for the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Co-Owner, Slaton Associates, LLC
One of the most frequent calls that local police and sheriffs receive are by or for individuals in emotional distress. First and foremost, law enforcement officers want to help people access the resources and services they need, especially those who are in need of medical or psychological care. However, the resources are few and far between in smaller and rural communities, limiting options for law enforcement. Hospitals become the primary source for receiving persons in distress, even if the hospital is 60 miles away. Officers are bound by law and protocol to take individuals who are a threat to themselves or others to a safe place where help might be available.
One of the most valuable law enforcement training and tools to come along in the past couple of decades is Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT). CIT was developed for the Memphis, Tenn., Police Department by Major Sam Cochran as a response to the unfortunate shooting of a man with serious mental illness by police who did not realize the nature of the victim’s behavior. There are two components of CIT. First is training for law enforcement and their community partners. Second is building and sustaining a community partnership between law enforcement, community organizations, individuals living with mental illness and their family members, as well as medical and mental health providers. Community mental health service providers or hospitals can develop protocols with law enforcement to ensure people needing mental health care get the help they need when they need it, where they need it. Because CIT brings together the broader community, it is a terrific service particularly to smaller and rural communities where resources are few and often stretched between several communities.
- Read the complete article on the NAMI website. Kudos to Elaine Deck, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and NAMI for working to strengthen relationships between local law enforcement and families.