This week, Scottsdale is host to a collaborative effort between east valley police and fire departments, providing first responders with crisis intervention team training.
Known as a Crisis Intervention Team Training Course, the event is being held in Scottsdale May 17-21.
Developed in Memphis in1988, the Crisis Intervention Team program is designed to be a community partnership between law enforcement, mental health professionals, mental health consumers and their families, according to a press release. The goal of the program is to help persons with mental health disorders access treatment, rather than place them in the criminal justice system due to their illness related behaviors.
This week’s training will be the 22nd class held since launching the East Valley collaborative effort in 2015. Over 550 first responders have been trained and are now utilizing the skills in their respective communities.
“Due to COVID restrictions we were only able to hold one class in 2020, so we are excited for this week’s training. From the first class in 2015, it has been our goal to provide quality CIT training to as many of our officers and civilian employees as possible. It is great to get back on track and continue this overwhelming successful program,” said Commander Bruce Ciolli of the Scottsdale Police Department.
Representatives from Mercy Care, Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, and Scottsdale police departments, as well as the Mesa and Chandler fire departments will provide the upcoming training. Additionally, members of the mental health community, to include mental health professionals and mental health consumers, will be participating.
Officers, deputies, and inspectors representing Scottsdale, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Arizona State University, Maricopa Community College, U.S. Marshals Service and Veterans Affairs will participate in the training, the press release stated.
The course will consist of 40 hours of in-classroom training on mental health signs and symptoms, appropriate medications and their side effects, use of verbal de-escalation techniques, active listening skills and officer safety techniques when dealing with subjects in crisis.
The week of classroom training will be put to the test on Friday when officers participate in extremely realistic role play scenarios.