Police officers get crisis training

WARREN — More than 20 area police officers completed five days of training on treatment and support services available for people suffering from addiction or mental health crises, along with proper methods for de-escalating crisis situations that officers can face on a moment’s notice.

“This helps give us a better understanding of many of the calls we deal with in the city. It showed me what some of the callers needing help may be going through and the reasons for the call,” said Warren Patrolman Tom Wire, who participated in the training.

Crisis Intervention Team, or CIT, began in Tennessee in the late 1980s when a 27-year-old man with a knife was threatening suicide. Since then, police training for these types of situations has expanded throughout the United States.

“The training prepares those in law enforcement to help de-escalate crisis situations. There are officer involved shooting situations which then are faced with a crisis situation,” said Niles police Lt. Dan Adkins, a 26-year law enforcement veteran, who served as a keynote speaker in last week’s training.

Adkins’ said his goal was to teach officers to take the time to listen to people who have legitimate problems.

“The police can be the ones to help make a difference for them and get them the help they need. Sometimes people do not know where to go to get the help,” he said.

Adkins is Ohio’s 2018 CIT Officer of the Year, an honor awarded for his response to a man threatening suicide.

John Myers, CIT program coordinator for Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board, said the conference was designed to teach techniques to keep people safe and get individuals into treatment instead of jail.

“We want to keep the officers safe and the people they are helping safe,” he said.

Myers said the goal is to have a CIT in every police department.

Since 2006, more than 242 local police officers from 28 jurisdictions have completed the training. The training is free to law enforcement agencies in Trumbull County

The Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board through a grant from the Ohio Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness conducted Trumbull County’s 16th CIT training.

The Crisis Intervention Team training wrapped up Friday with presentation of certificates at Packard Music Hall.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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