The first Crisis Intervention Team Training co-sponsored by the Connecticut Criminal Law Foundation and CABLE was held May 19-23, 2003. Twenty-six police officers representing thirteen Connecticut Police Departments attended the 40 hour training at the new training facility located at the Farmington Police Department.

first-crisis-intervention-team

Members of the first graduating class of the Crisis Intervention Team training
held from May 19-23rd, 2003.

The training was led by Captain Kenneth Edwards, Jr. who implemented the Crisis Intervention Team model in the New London Police Department two years ago.

Officers were exposed to the workings of the mental health system and case law pertaining to mental illness and police encounters. They learned about various forms of mental illness and were given skills in the use of proper techniques to de-escalate crisis situations. Suicide assessments, suicide by cop and post-shooting trauma were also discussed. Police officers met with representatives of the Connecticut Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) including consumers and family members of those with mental illness. A segment on less lethal weapons was also included.

One of the more eye-opening events of the training was a segment performed by the Second Step Players, an acting troop dedicated to the education of the public about living with mental illness. Officers participated in a simulation called “Hearing Voices.” Through the use of headphones and taped “voices” the officers were able to get an in-depth understanding of the everyday difficulties encountered by those who hear voices which can be a symptom of schizophrenia. “It was very disconcerting and distracting trying to function on a personal level during the simulation and I’ve gained valuable insight,” said Sgt. Steve Smith of the Groton Town PD.

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Testimonials

Sgt. Joyce Hoff, Meriden Police Department: “If every rookie officer took this course, the savings of money, injuries and even lives would be incredible! Looking back over my career, I can’t count how valuable having these skills would have been.”

Sgt. John Jarvie, West Haven Police Department: “I would recommend this program to be given to as many officers as possible.”

Officer David DeCicco, West Haven Police Department: “I have learned new information that I will use on “all” my calls for years to come.”

Sgt. Craig Huntley, Suffield Police Department: “Topics covered are field related issues that patrol officers have experienced on a daily basis. These issues range from the mentally ill to domestic situations…Excellent course.”

Anonymous: “This course has given me tools to use in my daily patrol. Great program. I would recommend to anyone. A plus for all patrol officers to have training of this type…This is one of the most practical courses I have taken.”