The Seneca Falls Police Department received recognition during the Town Board meeting on Tuesday, July 6, 2021. Margaret Morse, Mental Health Director of Seneca County, presented an award of excellence and New York State Senator Pamela A. Helming presented a New York State Senate Proclamation for outstanding service to our community and those facing a mental health crisis.
Chief Peenstra and the members of the police department have taken a proactive approach to providing a greater service to the community and those facing a mental health crisis. Chief Peenstra was an initial member of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) core implementation team in Seneca County and has since sent eleven police officers, including himself, to crisis intervention training. One member of the police department is also a certified CIT course instructor. Chief Peenstra also purchased a mobile device to remotely connect those in crisis to trained mental health professionals from the scene.
“I want to thank Senator Helming for her continued support for law enforcement, recognizing the need for additional mental health training, and securing the funds in 2018 to make this a reality,” said Chief Peenstra. “I would also like to thank Margaret Morse for organizing the county-wide CIT meetings and the collaboration she has created between law enforcement and mental health services. Lastly, I want to thank my staff who have embraced the CIT concept and work every day to improve their skills while dealing with an individual in crisis. The additional resources and training have not come at a better time as calls for service regarding mental health in Seneca Falls have increased over 54% in the first half of the year, compared to last year.”
The police department regularly participates in county-wide CIT meetings where stakeholders from multiple agencies come together to find individually tailored approaches to those who need assistance. This concept removes the one size fits all approach, reducing police contacts and building trust in the community. One of the 2021 department goals is to have every member training in CIT by 2022.