|Montgomery County Police Department’s (MCPD) Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)|
The Montgomery County Police Department’s (MCPD) Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program received the CIT Program of the Year at the 1st Annual Maryland CIT Conference, held on January 26 by the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration.
A Crisis Intervention Team is a specialized form of community policing that brings together law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency departments and individuals with mental illness and their families to improve responses to people in crisis.
The MCPD recognized the need for specialized training in this area and created its first CIT program in 2001. Since that time, the program has expanded and evolved as have the needs and concerns of the mental health field. There were 6,449 calls for service in Montgomery County in 2015 that involved mental health issues. The MCPD CIT includes three officers and one social worker from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
Over 2,000 sworn and non-sworn personnel have taken the MCPD CIT training. Working with the County’s Crisis Center and due to the increasing demand and attention to Crisis Intervention, MCPD training has expanded to include the department’s School Resource Officers, County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation staff, social workers and surrounding police jurisdictions. Everyone comes away with a new understanding of mental illness and how it affects all facets of communities. Last year, the MCPD CIT was requested to be part of a blue ribbon panel for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to raise awareness of mental health concerns impacting law enforcement agencies across the country.
The MCPD CIT mission of focusing on building partnerships and increasing mental health awareness continues to advance and provide better-informed service beyond the boundaries of Montgomery County.