First Responders Complete Jail Diversion Behavioral Crisis Training
Last month police officers and first responders from around Bucks County were a part of the 25th class to complete Crisis Intervention Training (CIT).
Bucks CIT is a collaboration between several dedicated entities and seeks to educate and inform law enforcement officials how to effectively communicate with persons in the community who are experiencing an emotional crisis or those living with mental health challenges.
The training seeks to increase safe outcomes for all involved, officials say.
The Bucks CIT Taskforce is comprised of representatives from Lenape Valley Foundation (LVF), Northampton Township Police Department, Middletown Township Police Department, Warrington Township Police Department, Upper Makefield Township Police Department, the Bucks County Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Programs (Bucks BH/DP), the Bucks County Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Bucks), and the Bucks County Community Support Program (Bucks CSP).
LVF, Northampton PD, Bucks BH/DP, and NAMI Bucks have been the driving forces behind the development, implementation, and continuity of Bucks CIT since its inception in 2007, said Nicole Wolf, CIT Co-Chair and Director of Education and Training at LVF.
“We’ve had the unwavering support of the Bucks County Commissioners, and District Attorney Matt Weintraub” Wolf said.
The CIT Co-Chair went on to explain the efficacy for CIT and its value to communities, those experiencing a mental health issue when interacting with police officers.
There is an abundance of research from across the country (and beyond) proving the efficacy of CIT. Specifically, Bucks CIT participated in a study conducted by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). The study aimed to determine:
- The degree to which CIT programs in Pennsylvania maintain fidelity to the Core Elements of the model. Bucks CIT was one of 7 CIT programs across the state that participated in this portion of the study.
- The effectiveness of CIT programs in Pennsylvania. Bucks was one of 4 CIT programs across the state that participated in this portion of the study.
The results showed:
- Bucks CIT has implemented into the training and program the vast majority of elements that are defined as “essential” for fidelity to the model.
- Bucks-CIT trained officers are less likely to go “hands on” than non-CIT trained officers, subsequently reducing the risk of injury to all parties.
- Bucks CIT-trained officers are more likely that non-CIT trained officers to resolve a “mental subject” call with a non-criminal justice disposition even if charges are filed. In other words, regardless of whether the behavior led to charges, if mental illness was a factor in the call, the person was more likely to be directed to treatment rather than incarceration at the time of the incident.
Wolf said over 600 local law enforcement officers and supervisors have completed the training (including officers from every one of the 42 police municipalities in Bucks County, the Sherriff’s Department, Probation & Parole, PA State Police – Dublin & Trevose Barracks, as well as some non-Bucks County law enforcement entities, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Proudly she offered, “Our first 40-hour training took place in 2009 and we have graduated 25 classes of Bucks CIT Officers since then”
This year’s class included police and first responders form the departments listed below she said.
- Bensalem EMS
- Bristol Township
- Falls Township
- Lower Makefield Township
- Middletown Township
- Morrisville Borough
- Northampton Township
- Newtown Township
- Park Rangers
- PA State Police – Dublin
- PA State Police – Trevose
- Penndel Borough
- Plumstead Township
- Sherriff’s Dept
- Solebury Township
- Warrington Township