A group of 38 police officers and mental health professionals have completed a crisis intervention training program in Cumberland County, NJ. Crisis Intervention Team training promotes collaboration between police and mental health workers to respond to anyone suffering a mental health emergency, according to the Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae. Training includes de-escalation techniques intended to reduce potential injuries to all involved. The CIT-NJ model helps in diverting those with mental illness from the criminal justice system toward treatment.
The 40-hour program, which wrapped up March 4, 2022, includes training on mental illness, crisis resolution and information about community based services.
Participants included officers from Bridgeton, Millville and Vineland police departments, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, Cumberland County Jail and troopers from the Bridgeton and Port Norris state police barracks. Mental health professionals from Inspira Health Network, Cumberland County Guidance Center, Volunteers of America and Gateway Community Action Agency also took part.
Acting New Jersey Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin attended a session to speak to the participants about the importance of the CIT-NJ model.
“As the county mental health administrator, it was an honor and a privilege to be in the midst of so many law enforcement and mental health professionals who are committed to crisis intervention training,” said Cumberland County Human Services Director Melissa Niles. “It is my hope to continue this effort at regular intervals through our partnerships.”
CIT-NJ is also a component of the New Jersey State Police initiative ARRIVE Together (Alternative Responses to Reduce Instances of Violence & Escalation), which teams state troopers from the Bridgeton and Port Norris barracks with mental health screeners when responding to behavioral health crisis calls.