Calls involving persons experiencing mental health crises can be particularly problematic for police officers. Surveys of officers suggest that they do not feel adequately trained to effectively respond to mental health crises, that mental health calls are very time-consuming and divert officers from other crime fighting activities, and that mental health providers are not very responsive (Cooper, McLearen & Zapf, 2004; Vermette, Pinals & Appelbuam, 2005, Wells & Schafer, 2006). With its origins in Memphis in 1987, the Crisis Intervention Team(CIT) model has spread throughout the nation, including cities in South Dakota. The goal of a Crisis Intervention Team is to increase safety in encounters and when appropriate, divert persons with mental illnesses from the criminal justice system to mental health treatment by offering 40 hours of specialized training for volunteer police officers coupled with ongoing collaboration with mental health providers and other community stakeholders.
The Memphis model for crisis intervention is currently being considered by a growing number of Brookings city and county law enforcement, the health care community, and advocates. All interested community members are encouraged to attend. This group will hear from Yankton’s CIT trainer, Lt. Mike Berguson at it’s next meeting on Monday, June 25, 12:00 noon at the Brookings hospital, Conference Room A. Use the west door and turn left down the hall. Bring your own lunch or come early and grab food/beverage from the adjoining cafeteria.
Brookings Empowerment Project