HENDRICKS COUNTY – In 2019, 22 law enforcement officers from 9 area agencies throughout Hendricks County were trained in the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program.
The CIT program is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health and addiction professionals, individuals who live with mental illness and/or addiction disorders, their families and other advocates. It is an innovative first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention training to help persons with mental disorders and/or addictions access medical treatment rather than place them in the criminal justice system due to illness related behaviors. It also promotes officer safety and the safety of the individual in crisis.
“Our officers are responding on an almost daily basis to calls involving persons in crisis who need assistance,” states Sheriff Brett Clark. “The CIT training has proven to be an effective method of better preparing them to not only provide an appropriate response but to do so in a safe, efficient, and compassionate manner. “
The CIT Model was first developed in Memphis and has spread throughout the country. It is known as the “Memphis Model.” CIT is a program that provides the foundation necessary to promote community and statewide solutions to assist individuals with a mental illness and/or addictions. The CIT Model reduces both stigma and the need for further involvement with the criminal justice system. CIT provides a forum for effective problem solving regarding the interaction between the criminal justice and mental health care system and creates the context for sustainable change. Research also shows that communities that prescribe to the CIT program model have higher success rates in resolving crisis situations.
“The Crisis Intervention Team model is designed to improve officer’s ability to safely intervene, link individuals to mental health services, and divert the criminal justice system when appropriate,” states April Bordeau, Leader of the Hendricks County Mental Health & Wellness Coalition and Director of Care to Change Counseling. “Hendricks County officers are well trained, and I’ve been impressed with their enthusiasm in working with our community, especially mental health providers. I’m proud of the support Sheriff Clark has provided and grateful to have been part of the bringing this best practice training to our community.”
The Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office and the Hendricks County Mental Health & Wellness Coalition seek to train at least 50% of all law enforcement officers with patrol duties in Hendricks County by 2025. The next Hendricks County CIT Training will be hosted from April 27th-May 1st, 2020.
To learn more about Hendricks County’s CIT efforts, please view the following video interviews of CIT-Trained Officer, Sgt. Evan Love of the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office:
To find out more about the CIT program, visit http://www.citinternational.org/. To learn more specifically about Hendricks County’s efforts and goals with CIT, please contact the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office at (317) 745-6269 or contact the Hendricks County Mental Health & Wellness Coalition coordinator at 317-790-9396.