NYPD Crisis Intervention Team of Experts and Actors Train Officers to Help People in Mental Health Crisis

In this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015 photo, Officer Lamont Edwards talks to actor Nathan Purdee during a Crisis Intervention Training class at the New York Police Department Police Academy, in New York. A new training for New York City police is combining actors, the mentally ill and psychology experts to better prepare officers responding to people in the throes of a mental crisis. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

In this Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015 photo, Officer Lamont Edwards talks to actor Nathan Purdee during a Crisis Intervention Training class at the New York Police Department Police Academy, in New York. A new training for New York City police is combining actors, the mentally ill and psychology experts to better prepare officers responding to people in the throes of a mental crisis. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

CIT LOGO…New York’s program is built off a nationally recognized instructional model, called Crisis Intervention Training, that uses mental health consumers, professionals and police officials to train officers on how to recognize signs of mental illness, respond to such calls and empathize with someone in the throes of a crisis. It emerged in the late 1980s from the Memphis Police Department and is now used by nearly 3,000 law enforcement agencies nationwide. Research has shown its use is associated with higher confidence among officers, better recognition of mental illness and fewer uses of force.
Earlier this summer the NYPD launched a four-day program that will be incorporated into standard training and issued a requirement that officers take annual refresher courses, officials said. The department already has a small, highly-trained unit of officers for mental health cases, but the training is meant to give more cops a better chance at deescalating crisis situations.
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