Problematic Behavior or Activity
In recent studies from around the United States, evidence supports the importance of developing policies and procedures for law enforcement officers who encounter those experiencing a mental health crisis. Historically, these encounters have led to a use of force action, and at times, to the use of deadly force. Facilitation among law enforcement and behavioral health treatment systems encourages early intervention for those who suffer from the symptoms of mental illness; maximized diversion opportunities for these individuals; and promotes cross training for LE and Treatment providers.
Evidence has shown that a person who is experiencing behavioral symptoms of a mental illness may be detained and incarcerated for low level crimes at a higher rate, and will spend a longer length of time incarcerated, than someone not demonstrating those behaviors. This runs the risk of exposing possible trauma to the individual who is incarcerated, as well as being a financial consideration to the community. While incarcerated, it can be difficult to start or continue treatment for their illness.
Crisis Intervention Team Center of Excellence (CITCOE) provides structure, support and technical assistance to Law Enforcement agencies and their local Behavioral Health agencies in the development of a local CIT program. CITCOE’s purpose is to increase public safety by supporting innovative cross-system collaboration of individuals with mental illnesses or co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders who come into contact with the justice system. We are able to go into the communities and meet with the community partners and provide them with sample presentations, sample forms, sample scenarios and a starter kit with the items that are available for use in some of the training activities to assist.
Based On Research
The “Memphis Model” of CIT training includes 40 hours of oral and visual presentations, scenario-based training, and interactions with the local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
During the 2013 legislative session, the Oregon Legislature appropriated funds to enhance and expand Jail Diversion and Crisis Services. OHA set aside up to $500,000 to contract for the coordination and instruction of a Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) project. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) sought applicants who were able to provide the coordination and instruction of CIT and facilitate services to guide the development of relationships between community mental health programs and local law enforcement. DPSST and GOBHI were awarded funds to support community-based efforts in the development of crisis intervention teams and jail diversion services across Oregon.
CITCOE has assisted with the development and implementation of new CIT programs, as well as providing ongoing support of CIT trainings throughout Oregon.
Critical Success Factors
The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) – Center for Policing Excellence (CPE) and Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI) are jointly committed to promoting the development of criminal justice behavioral health training programs, such as Crisis Intervention Teams and other specialized police response models, throughout Oregon. The objective of this partnership is to assist criminal justice and behavioral health agencies in providing a more effective and compassionate response to people experiencing behavioral health crises.