Moultrie Observer

Local News

August 30, 2012

Moultrie police host 2nd round of crisis training

MOULTRIE — The first week of August marked the second round of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training hosted by the Moultrie Police Department.

Local trainers Sgt. Rob Rodriguez, MPD, and Gwendolyn Knighton, E911 supervisor, coordinated the course, which was attended by officers from the MPD, Colquitt County Sheriff’s Department, Sylvester Police Department, Adel Police Department, and Thomasville Police Department. A total of 19 officers registered and graduated, earning certification as Crisis Intervention Team members.

The Georgia CIT Program is a collaborative effort of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental health service providers, family members, and law enforcement, according to Lynn Wilson, chairman of the Archway-Healthy Colquitt coalition Mental Health Subcommittee.

CIT trains law enforcement officers to effectively and humanely interact with persons with mental illness, Wilson said. The CIT course is a 40-hour, five-day curriculum that    is approved by the    Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Council. It incorporates both classroom instruction and role play exercises delivered by mental health professionals, other subject matter experts, and CIT law enforcement instructors.

A grant from the Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) allows CIT to be provided at no cost to law enforcement officers and their agencies, Wilson said, and all instructors are volunteers.

“In addition to significant support from NAMI Georgia, several local entities devoted time, resources, and personnel to make the training possible,” she said. “Southwest Georgia Community Action Council contributed the conference room and technology resources for the course. Turning Point not only provided the professional expertise of mental health professionals and hosted the mental health facility site visit, but also funded lunch and snacks for the week. Georgia Pines, the Community Service Board (CSB) serving Colquitt County, released mental health professionals to teach several modules throughout the week. Local family members who have loved ones living with mental illness presented the family perspective module and participated in the panel discussion.”

Moultrie Police Chief Frank Lang has indicated that in addition to more CIT courses MPD will host CIT training-of-trainers in the future. Having additional trainers in the surrounding area will significantly increase the number of officers who can be trained, Wilson said.

“The benefits of CIT have been immediately apparent,” she said. “A recent nearly twelve-hour standoff in Moultrie was resolved successfully with no harm to either the officers involved or the citizen living with mental illness. In addition, Sgt. Rodriguez reported that one of the newly trained officers successfully used CIT de-escalation strategies during her shift the very day she became certified, and in a separate incident, on the next day as well.”

CIT is an outreach of the Archway-Healthy Colquitt Coalition Mental Health Subcommittee. Cathy Owen is chair of the Support and Education Working Group, of which CIT is a part.

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