On July 22nd, Eastpointe, and its community partners completed Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for 19 law enforcement officers from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and Goldsboro Police Department. The training was held at Wayne Community College.
CIT training helps first responders better recognize citizens dealing with a mental health challenge or an intellectual or developmental disability. It teaches them how to de-escalate stressful situations and ensures they can connect those in crisis with the resources and healthcare they need. As the mental health challenges created by COVID continue to grow for area residents, so too is the need for this training.
CIT graduate Officer Donald Riggs III of the Goldsboro Police Department said, “To provide the best solution for a situation, you have to know how to properly react. Having learned what to look for and how we should respond…we can be more confident officers.”
This week-long training includes role-playing scenarios first responders may encounter in the field and roundtable discussions with citizens with behavioral health challenges. The goal of these techniques is to learn to respond with empathy after recognizing a behavioral health issue.
Graduate J.A. Davis, a Corporal in the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, explained that the CIT instructors helped students “not only [to be] better people…but also [to be] better law enforcement officers to the people we serve day to day…[being able] to have a roundtable discussion with individuals that have mental health issues [gave me a] better understanding of how they feel and their perspective on us.”
Eastpointe’s Chief of Regulations and Compliance, Theresa Edmondson, noted that “a big part of our role as an LME-MCO is to educate our communities on behavioral health issues so they can provide a safe, supportive environment for our members. The partnerships we’ve built with first responders, especially in Wayne County, have been critical in that effort.”
Since it began coordinating CIT training sessions in 2008, Eastpointe and its partners have trained 215 first responders in Wayne County.