Crisis Intervention Team

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Founded in 2000, CIT's main goal is safety - for the community, for the person in crisis, and for the officers and crisis team workers.

CIT teaches officers and communications operators, who are often the first point of contact for the mentally ill, how to deal with people in crisis, how to recognize different types of mental illness, and how to get the person the most appropriate help. The minimum goal of the CIT program is to provide Crisis Intervention training to at least 10% of law enforcement officers and all of the 9-1-1 Operators countywide.

Crisis Intervention Training

Collaboration of Police, Mental Health, Clients and Family Members
Reprinted from the January/February 2002 issue of the Ventura County NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) Newsletter

The first group of trainees graduated from a newly formed Police Crisis Intervention Team Academy (CIT) on December 6, 2002 . Within the following week Ventura Police had responded successfully to several calls using the methods learned in the Academy to de-escalate a crisis involving a mentally ill or emotionally disturbed person.

Through the hard work of Dr. Michael Ferguson, Psychiatrist for the Behavioral Health Crisis Team, and other key leaders, the new academy was up and running in record time. Dr. Ferguson, along with Commander Scott Whitney of the Oxnard Police Department, Former Ventura Police Lieutenant Doug Auldridge, Lieutenant Mark Stadler and Sergeant Jack Richards of the Ventura Police Department, deserve enormous credit for organizing the CIT academy. All were trained by the San Jose Police Academy, based on the Memphis Model. The Memphis Model was developed in large part by the NAMI Memphis family/client group, and has received nation-wide acclaim for its effectiveness in crisis intervention.

Former Police Chief Pat Miller and the City of Ventura are to be commended for initiating police training that resulted in establishment of the Academy. Others who deserve credit and thanks are Behavioral Health Director David Gudeman, Sheriff Bob Brooks, Neil Andrews, chair of the MHB, and city and county leaders.

Ventura NAMI clients and family members participated in a panel discussion and "voice exercise" that graphically demonstrated the impairment of a mental illness and a person' inability to hear, understand and respond appropriately when in crisis.

The keen interest of the police and communication officers that filled the large room was heartening, and the compassion and understanding of the safety leaders was gratifying to clients and family members. All-in-all it was an enormously beneficial collaboration of mental health, police, client and family members. It is gratifying to know that the collaboration and training will continue into the future.

Contact

Commander Mark Stadler 805-339-4374
Sergeant Sam Arroyo 805-339-4441