Wednesday, July 23, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

My turn: Looking back, moving forward — CIT

By
From page A4 | November 21, 2012 |

Editor’s note — This is part 2 of a three-part series of columns by Denise Marie Siino.

In Part 1 of this series, I said that Crisis Intervention Training field officer training includes learning new stabilization and de-escalation techniques to employ when facing a person with mental illness. Clinical and forensic psychologist Joel Dvoskin, PhD, once acting commissioner of mental health for the state of New York and current CIT trainer, said, in a nutshell, the objectives of CIT field training are to teach officers to:

• go slow, don’t push toward quick resolution;
• use words designed to make the person feel safer, not threatened;
• use words that lower anger, frustration and fear;
• express empathy.

The ultimate goal in any encounter with a mentally ill person is a successful outcome for both the officer — to retain control without having to use force, and the person — to get through the crisis safely. El Dorado County is fortunate that some of its officers (both sheriff and police) have already received this specialized training.

But there is more to the CIT program than just teaching effective field strategies and techniques. In its fullest form, CIT is much broader.

Stephen Golding, Ph.D., early forensic psychologist and adjunct professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine, said that the CIT program was born from the lack of an integrated system that brings together a diversity of disciplines and coordinates efforts to address the unique needs of the mentally ill.

Since the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill in the 1970s and ‘80s, communities that were supposed to take over supporting and caring for these individuals lacked the funding, resources and expertise for the job. Suddenly, the mentally ill — with more freedom than they’d had in decades — were struggling to live productive lives and stay out of trouble. Family members had to battle with their loved ones to get them the help they needed, failing often.

Over large swaths of the country, things haven’t changed much in the last 30 years. Without the integrated support system Golding referred to, the mentally ill in most regions are still very likely to become trapped in a never-ending cycle of arrest, court, jail or mental evaluation/detention, arrest, and so on.

CIT is intended to break this cycle and provide a support structure to help the mentally ill individual and his family forge a different path and avoid a crisis that attracts the attention of law enforcement in the first place.

Pulling the skin away from CIT, we find that the skeleton is made up of multiple groups knit together like bones in a human framework. Each ‘bone’ is an agency interested in serving the best interests of the mentally ill (as well as those with other distinct mental and developmental disabilities) as an integral segment of the community at-large.

These agencies – having grown in wisdom and experience since the days of the 1970s and ‘80s – have a lot of heart, but until 2008 in El Dorado County, they did not have a central control center to help coordinate their activities. CIT provided a solution.

The ‘brain’ with the CIT model is a multidisciplinary team (MDT) of professionals representing these agencies that meets regularly to share information and confer about the best protocol for handling individuals who have been referred to the team for discussion.

El Dorado County’s MDT meets about every six weeks, and includes representatives from the Sheriff’s Department and Placerville PD, Mental Health, Adult Protective Services and Public Guardian’s offices, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Jail, Parole, Probation, ALTA (serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities), Community Health, Veterans Affairs, Patients Rights, DA’s and Public Defender’s offices, Animal Control, local alcohol and drug programs, and veterans and behavioral health courts.

Looking at the list of participants, the image of a safety net readily emerges. A person may be arrested and taken to jail, where she presents signs of mental illness; or taken on a 5150 hold to Marshall Hospital and referred to Mental Health; or maybe she is stopped by an officer and released, but the officer is nevertheless concerned enough about her mental state to refer her to the department’s CIT officer. In all of these scenarios, the person is now referred to the MDT.

Within the CIT program, the jail plays a unique role in helping to serve the needs of the mentally ill. A 1998 Bureau of Justice report states that 16 percent of all inmates nationwide (jail, state prison, federal prison) reported or were deemed to have a mental or emotional condition. Currently within the Placerville jail, 13 percent of inmates are being treated for mental illness. By making referrals to the MDT for discussion and follow-up, the mentally ill, once released from jail, become the focus of ongoing care rather than falling prey to the endless cycle of re-arrest.

Part 3 of “Looking Back, Moving Forward” will focus on how the existing CIT program in EDC can be improved.

Denise Marie Siino is a former writer for the Mountain Democrat and a current freelance writer. You can find her writing online at www.denisemariesiino.com

Comments

comments

Denise Marie Siino

.

News

 
Heard over the back fence: Attorney to warn about scams

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Road zone of benefit protester reaches dead end

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Six file for Dist. 2

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

District 2 candidates forum Aug. 14

By News Release | From Page: B1

 
EID ditch customers get relief

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A1

Veterans receive wildland fire training

By News Release | From Page: B1

 
Market data open for local biz

By Ross Branch | From Page: B1

Volunteers clean up national forest

By News Release | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Russian metastasis

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
The Democratic-Chronicles: Not invented here

By Gene Altshuler | From Page: A4

My turn: Special interests at EID

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

DA hogging Main St. parking

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
CAO and staff hiring friends

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Altshuler’s hypocrisy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Small Farm compromise

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

EID and Dale Coco

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
.

Sports

Celebrity golf at Tahoe

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Roundup: July 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Dolphins ring up another title

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Sharks defeat Loomis Basin in season finale

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Dodgeball: Not the national pastime but …

By Shane Theodore | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
.

Prospecting

At a glance: Comets to meteors

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Taste the best at the State Fair

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Amador Fair honors cowboys

By Amador County Fair | From Page: B3

Tractor Supply Store recognized

By Uc Cooperative | From Page: B3

 
Arbor Day book helps to identify trees

By Arbor Day | From Page: B4

Learn about lavender and its many benefits

By Christian Women's Connection | From Page: B4

 
Builders’ Exchange honors scholars

By El Dorado Builders' Exchange | From Page: B5

 
En garde at Silver Screen Classic

By Auburn Silver Screen | From Page: B5

Lee’s Feed appreciates customers

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B5

 
My Time meeting in August

By Senior Day | From Page: B5

.

Essentials

Weather stats 7-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Crime Log: July 8-10

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

.

Obituaries

Arthur J. Funston

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Walter Vali

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Jean Lachelle Taylor

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

.

Comics

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Horoscope, Thursday, July 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A8

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

 
Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8