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ADAMHS Board of Cuyahoga County Leads Crisis Intervention Team Training Efforts

by Becky Eby, Office of Innovation and Performance; Carole Ballard, ADAMHS Board Intervention Team Training Program Officer and Scott Osiecki, ADAMHS Board Chief of External Affairs
Since 2005, the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) Board of Cuyahoga Countyhas provided Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training to law enforcement agencies across Cuyahoga County.  This forty-hour training provides law enforcement officers, and other members of the public safety community, with training on de-escalating crises.  The goal of CIT training is to provide law enforcement officers with the knowledge and techniques to approach individuals they believe to have a mental illness.  By integrating CIT training with prior law enforcement training, officers are better able to connect persons with mental illness to treatment instead of inappropriate incarceration.  

The ADAMHS Board developed its CIT training program with the support of the Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence (CJ/CCOE). Established in 2001, the Ohio CJ/CCOE promotes jail diversion alternatives for people with mental illness by fostering collaboration between mental health and criminal justice systems.  Ohio CJ/CCOE staff work with the ADAMHS Board CIT Coordinator to strengthen the core elements of CIT training and share information on emerging best practices. 

Topics covered in the CIT training include: 
  • Overview of mental illness; signs and symptoms, treatment
  • Overview of Veteran Affairs system; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), services and resources
  • Overview of Crisis Services; housing and emergency resources;
  • Communication and De-escalation principles

CITraininggroup2While the ADMAHS Board’s focus is on training officers of the Cleveland Division of Police (CDP), per the Consent Decree between the City of Cleveland and the Department of Justice, CIT training is open to agencies outside of the CDP four times a year.  As of February 2017, 1,109 individuals from Cuyahoga County area hospitals, colleges, courts, corrections, emergency medical services, dispatch, and law enforcement agencies have completed CIT training.  Of these individuals, 1,056 are full-time Sworn Ohio Law Enforcement Officers in Cuyahoga County.  This includes 37 Cuyahoga County Sheriff Deputies as well as law enforcement officers from 35 of Cuyahoga County’s 59 municipalities. 

Beginning in the second half of 2017, the ADAMHS Board will offer Cuyahoga County 10 slots in each of the four CIT training sessions offered to agencies outside of the CDP.  These slots are split between Cuyahoga County Sheriff Deputies, Corrections Officers, and Protection Services Officers.  In addition to sending employees to the ADAMHS Board CIT course, the Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Department is required to participate in annual in-service training courses.  Past in-service trainings have included courses on trauma-informed policing and de-escalation of mental health crises, both of which include similar content to the comprehensive CIT course provided by the ADAMHS Board.