By Jessica Bowman
Crisis Intervention Training is characterized as an intense program changing the mindset for law enforcement officers when they respond to calls, while handling people with mental illnesses.
The Jones County Sheriff’s Department along with Pine Belt Mental Health made their mark on a international platform during this years 2018 Crisis Intervention Team Conference. Just this week, the partnering teams traveled to Missouri to teach classes.
“We take a look at the program and how it’s playing a major role in helping save lives,” said Jones County Sheriff’s Department major Jamie Tedford. “It’s on scene intervention.”
Crisis Intervention Team, better known as CIT, has been playing a critical role in communities across the nation for 30 years. The program’s mission is to reduce the need for deadly force, reduce injuries as well as reduce the amount of arrests of those suffering with a mental illness.
“The Jones County Sheriff’s Department is a leading law enforcement agency when it comes to incorporating CIT around the clock within our department,” Tedford said.
Tedford adds that if a person is in the midst of a mental health crisis, a CIT certified officer is able to step in and with special training can de-escalate a situation, ultimately getting the individual the help needed. He says numbers prove the training works. Since June 2016, Jones County has responded to 368 CIT calls. Out of those calls, only 76 of those people were incarcerated meaning the remaining received mental health treatment essential to their well-being.
Tedford said, “I am a dedicated proponent, standing behind the CIT mission. I have spoken during numerous trainings to area law enforcement across our state about the importance and lasting impacts of CIT.”