During the first week of April, The Metro Boston CIT TTAC held our most recent Crisis Intervention (CIT) class at a new location, the Tewksbury Police Department. We had a great response to the class with 32 Officers participating from Cambridge, Haverhill, Hingham, Lowell, Medford, Somerville, Tewksbury, Waltham, Wilmington, and Woburn.
Crisis Intervention Training is a 40hr. training comprised around five key themes: Increased Understanding of Behavioral Health, Effective Communication and engagement skills, Verbal and Tactical De-escalation, Navigating Community Resources, and Risk assessment tools. Officers who have completed this training learn to understand commons signs and symptoms of mental illness and recognize them in crisis situations. They are also equipped with the knowledge and skills to guide best practice response to individuals impacted by psychiatric illness, developmental disorders, and co-occurring substance use disorders. Additionally, CIT training is tactically sound. Police training related to officer and public safety is always paramount. Officers who have attended the training have shared how they utilize skills learned in CIT training on the job daily.
The 40 hour course is designed for patrol officers who have regular interactions with community members experiencing a crisis. However, variations of CIT training and its components are available and recommended for all levels of law enforcement: Dispatchers, Officers and Supervisors.
CIT training provides information to increase understanding of the dynamics of communication and de-escalation strategies that can be implemented to assist in resolving a situation. CIT training provides officers scenario-based training to guide and inform decisions that can be applied in the community. Officers who have completed CIT training should be given a pin which is to be worn on their lapel pocket under their badge number. All officers are encouraged to take CIT when it becomes available. In Massachusetts many departments have set a goal to train 100% of their officers in the 40 CIT program. CIT International recommends a minimum of 20% of sworn officers to be trained in CIT. Setting your goal should be informed by calls for service related to mental health. Data collection can help to identify needs. Many communities are experiencing a high volume of calls, which may indicate the need to train more officers to allow for informed response across all shifts.
To learn more about this program and sign up please visit their website: metrobostoncit.org.