Alexandria’s Crisis Intervention Team added 15 new members in February when four police officers, four sheriff deputies, two code administrators, three fire department personnel and two probation and parole officers graduated from the 12th CIT training.
The classes are part of the ongoing effort to instruct city first responders and Detention Center personnel in techniques to improve staff interactions and outcomes with persons with mental illness and substance use disorders. The training was developed in collaboration with the Department of Community and Human Services, the Alexandria Police Department and the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office.epartm
Graduates received their certificates and congratulations from Chief of Police Earl Cook and Sheriff Dana Lawhorne.
Unlike most CIT programs across the country, which are comprised solely of police officers, Alexandria’s program includes staff from all first responding agencies to ensure that a comprehensive, citywide approach is in place to assist residents with mental illness.
First responder participants experience 40 hours of training to learn skills such as suicide intervention, verbal de-escalation techniques, the role of the family in the care of a person with mental illness, and legal training in mental health and substance abuse issues.