Public Safety officers now CIT certified
Southwest Police Services/Public Safety Department Director L. Angela Webb and 9 of her fellow officers recently volunteered to complete Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) with the Memphis Police Academy. This 40-hour intensive training program is designed to equip officers and first responders with the skills, methods, and tactics needed to safely deescalate incidents involving persons in the throes of a mental health crisis. The CIT program encourages officers to use measured tones, active listening, and firm reassurances to resolve tense situations safely and appropriately.
Mental health clinicians, consumer and family advocates, and police trainers coached the officers on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness. They also provided pertinent information on co-occurring mental health disorders and current treatments and the sensitive legal issues surrounding mental health disorders.
The officers visited various mental health facilities where they received hands-on training and learned response techniques involving older adults, persons affected by trauma or experiencing excited delirium, and persons with developmental disabilities. Information was presented in experiential and practical skills/scenario-based training formats. Officer Nigel Payne says the training was enlightening. “This experience taught me that being a CIT Officer is not only to assist individuals in crisis, but it will also serve as an open line of communication to ensure public safety in our campus community,” Payne said.
A Crisis Intervention Team program is an internationally recognized community policing model that brings together law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency departments and individuals with mental illness and their families to improve responses to people in crisis. The programs enhance communication, identify mental health resources to help people in crisis, and ensure officers receive the training and support they need. CIT-certified Southwest officers are easy to identify by their lapel pin that has the CIT certification logo.
Southwest Police Services Director L. Angela Webb says ongoing professional development is essential to any public safety operation. “Training helps our officers comfortably and confidently face situations of a critical nature,” Webb said. “It helps them to better understand the circumstances of any situation, how to communicate effectively and reach peaceful resolutions through enhanced critical thinking.” Webb adds that safety and security are top priorities at Southwest. “Southwest Police Services is committed to continuous improvement to earn and maintain the trust of faculty, students and visitors to all Southwest properties.”
The following officers completed CIT certification presented by the Memphis Police Academy: