In early November five officers from the Seneca Falls Police Department attended a 40 hour training session for crisis intervention, which was hosted by the Seneca County Sheriff’s Department.
“Chief Peenstra; Sgt. Poole; Inv. Denny; Ofc. Cleere and Ofc. DeChick are now certified Crisis Intervention Team members. This brings the department’s total authorized CIT members up to ten,” the department said in a press release.
A lack of mental health crisis services across the U.S. has resulted in law enforcement officers serving as first responders in most crises. A national push for establishing a CIT program or Crisis Intervention Team program is an innovative, community-based approach to improve these encounters’ outcomes.
CIT programs create connections between law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency services, and individuals with mental illness and their families. Through collaborative community partnerships and intensive training, CIT improves communication, identifies mental health resources for those in crisis, and ensures officer and community safety.
The training focuses on recognizing and identifying those in a mental health crisis, de-escalation, communication skills, suicide intervention, substance use, and trauma response. Law Enforcement officers train to assess a situation and take the best course of action to resolve an issue. When dealing with the mental health community, the hope is to get the person the proper help they need to establish a long-term solution.
The Seneca Falls Police Department dedicates itself to this training, and its goal is to have all of its members CIT certified. To help obtain this goal, Officer Bethany Kidd became a certified CIT instructor in 2019.