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Charles County, MD- Last week, the Southern Maryland Regional Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) held a 40-hour certification course for police and corrections officers from Charles County and other local agencies as part of a continued commitment to advance training and awareness of handling calls for service relating to mental health and to help officers diffuse problems associated with emotional or mental illness. The training focused on:
- Learning signs and symptoms of various mental illnesses;
- An introduction to local resources and partner agencies to assist those in crisis;
- Interactions with consumers of mental health services and their personal stories;
- Enhanced communication training and best practices for working with people in crisis.
“The Southern Maryland CIT course is based on the Memphis Model, which not only provides officers with enhanced training and communications skills, but it also fosters a better working relationship between officers and community partner agencies,” said Lieutenant Cari Baker, CCSO coordinator for the Southern Maryland CIT. “We have recently been expanding the training to include reviewing and adapting agencies’ policies and practices for responding to individuals dealing with mental illness.”
Although Charles County has been training officers for many years on diffusing dangerous situations and recognizing signs of mental illness, the Southern Maryland CIT was founded several years ago as a partnership between the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office, and the Charles County Core Service Agency/Local Behavioral Health Authority. The Calvert County Sheriff’s Office and Maryland State Police joined shortly after. Since its inaugural training session in 2017, this group has trained police and corrections officers from each of these agencies as well as officers from the St. Mary’s College of Maryland Public Safety, La Plata Police Department, and the Department of Natural Resources Police.
“It is our priority to provide excellent service to people from all walks of life, especially those who battle mental illness and addiction,” said Sheriff Troy Berry. “Having resources in place such as the Crisis Intervention Team is imperative to our mission. We are grateful to all of our partner agencies who work together to help everyone in our communities.”
For more information about the Crisis Intervention Team program, check out citinternational.org