Crisis Intervention Team Training To Begin This Week

25 Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputies will be trained in dealing with persons who are mentally ill.

Frederick, Md. (KM)  The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office says 25 of its deputies will be undergoing Crisis Intervention Team training this week. It will involve instruction on how to deal with individuals who are mentally ill.

“How to best interact with people with different type of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse disorders and other issues  that come up regarding mental health resources and the legal system,” says Beth Tabachnick, a clinical social worker with the Montgomery County Police Department.

She says it will consist of classroom instruction and hands-on learning. “They do experiential exercises with the officers, and they actually have the opportunity to go to different site visits of programs that offer services to persons with behavioral health concerns,” says Tabachnick.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the CIT program brings law enforcement together with mental health care providers, hospital emergency departments and individuals with mental illnesses and their families to improve the response to people in crisis. It trains officers in communication skills and identifies mental health resources to assist people in crisis. In addition, deputies will be trained to use  verbal de-escalation skills to ensure their safety.

Tabachnick says the goal is to steer these individuals to the help they need. “And then also the resources for how to best channel the individual into the appropriate resources, whether that’s community providers, their own personal resources or  the hospitals,” she says.

She  says the deputies can put skills to use every day. “They may encounter someone with a mental health issue on a traffic stop, or in a situation regarding a missing person or a family dispute,” Tabachnick says. “So these type of skills actually help really on every call they’re on.”

The training provided to 25 Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputies this week will be the first nationwide model of a Crisis Intervention Team training. The Bureau of Justice Assistance will oversee the training provided by members of the Montgomery County Crisis Intervention Team.

“This agency is fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to be in the forefront, participate and  host this nationwide training model,” says Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, in a statement. “The training will be very beneficial to both the agency and the public as law enforcement encounter more and more situations that have the potential to become volatile.”