Members of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office took part in crisis intervention team training hosted by the Madison County Mental Health Department. The 40-hour training was attended by 12 Madison County Sheriff’s deputies, three officers from the City of Oneida Police Department, and individuals from Madison County Mental Health and Madison County CPS.

The CIT is a group of experienced, specially trained volunteer officers who deal with emotionally disturbed individuals in a variety of situations in the community. These situations may include suicidal people, people exhibiting irrational behavior, handling psychiatric patients, the homeless, addressing various mental health concerns or referrals and any other situations that deal specifically with the needs of the mental health community and emotionally disturbed people.

Members of CIT receive specialized training on a variety of issues including indicators of emotional disturbance, mental illness signs and symptoms, communication skills, trauma, veteran’s issues, elderly mental health, juvenile mental health, police stress, suicide and much more. The Mental Health Department has held two previous trainings in 2016 and 2017.

CIT is not only training, it is a team that meets monthly to discuss the needs individuals with whom police have had contact; the team discusses potential service referrals that can be made if the individual is interested.

The hope of the team is to make is to train officers to deescalate situations with mentally ill individuals and to avoid jail or unnecessary hospitalizations.

In the Madison County Sheriff’s Office Police Reform and Reinvention Plan that was submitted to New York state earlier this year, the MCSO committed to having all full-time deputies trained in CIT within three years. The attendance and graduation of 12 deputies at this year’s training is one step closer to accomplishing that goal. The Mental Health Department plans on hosting another CIT training in 2022.

“Many times when someone is distraught or having a mental health crisis, the police are dispatched to intervene,” said Sheriff Todd Hood. “With this specialized training, our officers are better able to serve and protect our residents and also link the individual to services they need. I want to thank Madison County Mental Health for hosting this training and for their continued support and cooperation.”

“The Madison County CIT team has been a very important part of our system of care for people who are struggling with mental health concerns,” said Madison County Mental Health Director Teisha Cook. “The officers that we have trained over the last few years have developed strong relationships with our mental health staff and other behavioral health agencies, and the training has enhanced their ability to interact with individuals in need.

“We are excited that the Madison County Sheriff’s Office continues to embrace the training and has sent so many officers this year. We look forward to continuing our partnership and working together to serve individuals in our community.”

The public is encouraged to reach out if they or someone they know would like to talk to someone. Madison County Mental Health has a 24-hour-a-day crisis line. Call 315.366.2327, prompt 1.

By martha

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