NEW HANOVER – Law Enforcement Officers are faced with challenges every day trying to keep our communities safe. When confronting an individual who is in crisis, officers struggle with how best to handle the situation given these individuals’ special needs.
Southeastern Mental Health and the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office addresses this awareness and education problem with a specialized Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program designed specifically for law enforcement officers interacting with people in crisis.
Recognized as a national model for working with law enforcement, the program consists of a 40-hour training curriculum which spans a variey of topics concerning mental health. Participants are given a general overview of psychiatric disorders, as well as some signs and symptoms to help recognize when they are dealing with someone who may require special treatment.
“This program has helped improve relationships between the mental health community and law enforcement, ” says Sheriff Ed McMahon. “It gives us a method to help de-escalate a crisis situation, and then everyone wins – consumers and law enforcement.”
Eighteen additional Crisis Intervention Officers graduated on Friday, October 30th. They will take to the streets of New Hanover County with their CIT skills.
Congratuations to the graduates: NHSO – James Philips, John Schekler, Derrick Williams, Michael Howell, Kathy McDonald, William Owen, Sandra Rogers-Walker, Zachary Taylor, and Kathryn Wolford; WPD – Lauren Fuller, Stephen Griffith, Michael Knight, Brittany Main, James Merritt, Heather Newton, Amy Gospodarek, Catherine Levett, and Bonnie Neral.