1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204
December 02, 2005 00:00
On Monday, December 5, 2005, 27 Portland Police officers and 3 Multnomah County Parole and Probation officers will attend the Portland Police Bureau’s 40-hour Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. The mission of the Crisis Intervention Team is to use understanding and skills gained through specific training to identify and provide the most effective and compassionate response possible to police situations involving people in a mental health crisis. During the training, officers discuss problem solving with mental health professionals and also interact with consumers and their families. The training provides skills, tools, and tactics for law enforcement personnel to safely deescalate persons in mental illness or developmental disability crisis. Officers receive information about different mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, crisis intervention techniques, community resources, and all major areas useful in interacting with persons in crisis.
The Portland Police Bureau was the first law enforcement agency on the West Coast to have a Crisis Intervention Team, after traveling to Memphis with its community partners to learn about their program. The first 60 officers were trained in 1995. More than 199 Portland Police officers have been trained since 1995, and there are currently 124 active CIT officers. An additional 100 officers from other jurisdictions have also been trained through the Portland Police Bureau. The Portland Police Bureau is planning two additional trainings in 2006, with the goal of having an additional 60 to 70 Portland Police Officers trained in crisis intervention
While all members of the Portland Police Bureau have received two hours of basic crisis intervention training in the 2004-05 in-service, CIT officers are volunteers who receive advanced training that far exceeds the state standard. They also serve their peers as problem solving resources and technical advisors in working within the mental health system. CIT members
perform their regular duty assignments as patrol officers/sergeants when not involved in such incidents.
In 2004, CIT officers responded to about 2,000 CIT-related incidents and the number of requests continues to increase each year.
“It is a personal goal of mine to continue to build and develop the Portland Police Bureau’s CIT program,” says Chief Derrick Foxworth. “We’ve seen firsthand the success of this program and watched as incidents involving people in mental crisis have been diffused by a CIT Officer.”
According to the Consensus Project, police departments with CIT Trained Officers report: ? 40 percent decrease in police-caused injuries to individuals with mental illness. ? 50 to 58 percent decrease in SWAT type calls. ? Decrease in the number of mentally ill persons taken to jail by police.
Recent examples demonstrate how Portland Police CIT Officers have successfully diffused two situations. In August 2005, a CIT officer helped successfully talk a man down from the Glen Jackson Bridge who had called local media to say he was going to kill himself. In November, a suicidal man called 9-1-1 and then went on his front porch and aimed a fake (but realistic-looking) gun at police. A CIT officer was also able to diffuse the situation and take the man to receive help from mental health professionals.
Individuals who have been assisted by CIT Officers, as well as a partner of the Police Bureau’s, Project Respond, are willing to talk to the media. Anyone interested in attending a portion of the training or learning more about the Police Bureau’s CIT program is encouraged to call Officer Paul Ware at (503) 823-0183.
Sgt. Pete Simpson