Monroe County to have all law enforcement officers complete Crisis Intervention Team Training this year

Patrick Moussignac
Created: January 19, 2021 06:13 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monroe County Police agencies say they will now train, and educate all their officers on how to better handle calls that involve a mental health crisis, or substance abuse disorder. This is all part of their Crisis Intervention Team Training. 

The agencies believe this will not only ensure the safety of officers and the public, but also redirect people with mental health issues away from the judicial system, and into the health care system.

The big change is Crisis Intervention Team Training. Only about 450, out of about 1,200 officers, troopers, and deputies county-wide have received any CIT training.

"We recognize the need to ensure all of our officers have the best training available to meet the needs of our community, and we are invested in this initiative 100%," said Fairport Police Chief Samuel Farina. 

The training involves 40 hours of in-class lessons developed out of a shooting incident that occurred in Memphis, Tennessee back in 1987. 

"The training focuses on recognizing and identifying those in mental health crisis, de-escalation, communication skills, suicide intervention, substance abuse and trauma response," Farina said.

Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode says his department has already benefited from the training held at the Public Safety Training Center.

"Getting our staff through that extra training is well worth the expenditure that it’s going to take to do that without the training center being on board to provide us with the resources to put instructors on," VanBrederode said.

Mental Health Association of Rochester's Mary Russo says the CIT Initiative by Monroe County police agencies is something the agency fully supports.

"This type of training I think is essential, and I think that given the recent events that we've all heard with Patrick Warren. This type of training is necessary and I'm pleased to hear that all will be involved in partaking that type of training," Russo said. 

The Monroe County Law Enforcement Council says training for the remaining 1,200 officers will begin later this year.

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