Crisis Intervention Team Training Held at CSS

Apr 28, 2021

Community Support Services

Community Support Services (CSS) will welcome 24 police and firefighters from 11 departments and agencies to Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training from April 26-29 at the CSS main office, 150 Cross St. The final day, April 30, will take place at the Akron Police Department Training Bureau.

Statistics reveal that about a quarter of fatal law enforcement encounters involve someone with serious mental illness. However, many mental health professionals believe such tragedies can be avoided if police undergo CIT training.

Created in Memphis, Tenn., CIT training aims to de-escalate mental health crises and reduce harm to the person in crisis, as well as the first responders. CIT partners law enforcement with local mental health providers, advocates and consumers of mental health services with the goal of getting treatment for those experiencing mental health crises rather than incarceration.

Locally, the CIT program was established after the County of Summit ADM Board sponsored Lt. Mike Woody, retired training director for the Akron Police Department, to attend the training in Memphis and share that information in Akron. Woody now is the past president of CIT International. Community Support Services - a longtime partner in the CIT program - has hosted the training for more than 15 years.

During the 40 hours of training, first responders will learn about various mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, dementia, medication side effects, suicide and substance abuse. They will hear from doctors, social workers, police, Summit County court judges and CSS clients, who will share their personal stories. They will learn about tactical safety and de-escalation techniques, “experience” mental illness through simulated hallucinations, and ride along with CSS case managers to site visits. The final day, April 30, will take place at the Akron Police Department Training Bureau, where participants will role play based on what they’ve learned and participate in a graduation ceremony.

Training participants will include members of Akron Children’s Hospital Police, Akron Fire Department, Akron Police Department, Cleveland VA Police Department, New Franklin Police Department, Northcoast Behavioral Health, Northfield Village Police Department, Richfield Police Department, Summa Health Police Department, Summit County Sheriff’s Office, and Tallmadge Police Department.