Training helps law enforcement respond to calls involving people with mental health problems

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WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — A special training is helping law enforcement respond to calls involving people with mental health problems.

It’s an 8 hour a day training that’s happening through Friday. A dozen Buffalo Police officers as well as members of the NFTA, Cheektowaga Police department, Kenmore Police department and other agencies are learning the crisis intervention team, or CIT training model.

The CIT program by Crisis Services is designed to improve the way law enforcement respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis. The goal is to teach officers how to calm down a person and refer them to mental health care services instead of arresting them.  The CIT program is also intended to protect officers and alleviate harm to a person in crisis.

“Law enforcement interacts with people with mental illness everyday. When people go into crisis they call 911, we have a crisis line at Crisis Services which people utilize but a lot of times people are just programmed to call 911 so you have first reponders like police officers showing up on scene and working with people with mental illness so it would make sense that they would have the training to be able to work with them.” said Kristin Adduci, Crisis Intervention Team Training Coordinator.

Once officers are wrapped up in the classroom they’ll spend 8 hours training in the field. They will ride around with Crisis Service’s mobile outreach department and use skills they learned through the training.

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