Giving Officers the Tools to Respond Safely and Effectively to a Mental Health Crisis
“For certain individuals who have serious mental illnesses, we could practically use a stopwatch to record how many minutes it takes them to re-offend after they walk out of the jail,” reports one assistant jail administrator in Greater Minnesota. “They cycle in and out of the jail, and the underlying issues, like mental health, never get addressed.”
This scenario has become commonplace. Police officers have become the front-line respondents to people with serious mental illnesses who are in crisis. Many Minnesota jails report that well over half of their inmates have mental illnesses. Nationwide, about 64% of jail detainees have mental illnesses.
Why do first responders need CIT training? With the increase of calls to police that involve people with mental illness, responders need to know how to handle these calls differently—and effectively. There is currently little to no training at academies for CIT training. With the new MN POST Board mandates, it is not only critical but mandatory that officers have this training.
Our training is based on the nationally recognized Memphis Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model, which promotes the use of verbal de-escalation skills before using force when confronting a mental health crisis. CIT training has been proven to dramatically decrease the risk of injuries or death to both officers and those suffering from mental illness, while also reducing the number of repeat calls.