RI Police Departments Receive $1.2M in Federal Funds to Support Crisis Intervention Programs

SEN.S JACK REED AND SHELDON WHITEHOUSE, DR.I., announced Monday that $1.2 million in federal funds will be given to local law enforcement agencies to support crisis intervention training programs. / THANKS TO SEN. JACK REED AND SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE

WEST WARWICK – US Sens. Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, DR.I., along with representatives from Thundermist Health Center, announced Monday at the West Warwick Youth Center that police forces in Rhode Island will receive $1.2 million in federal funding to support training in crisis intervention training programs. for teams.

As part of the initiative, Reed and Whitehouse said Thundermist and the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association will equip police forces with tools to lead people in crisis away from the justice system and connect them to necessary mental and behavioral health services. Launching this fall, the initiative includes 24 training academies that will run over four years, including specialist academies to communicate with youth about mental health and trauma management among first responders. To date, about 60% of local law enforcement agencies have already sent officers to Thundermist-sponsored CIT training programs, Reed and Whitehouse said.

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The senators also said Thundermist will create workflows for 911 and local dispatchers to ensure that CIT-trained officers and an embedded police doctor are sent to calls as needed.

Sidney Wordell, executive director of the Rhode Island Police Chiefs Association, said in a statement that society is at a time when people rely on law enforcement to provide services to our communities like never before, and “none of those services are more important than when an individual or a family finds itself in a behavioral health crisis.”

“We know that our officers are not trained to perform medical evaluations, but they are usually the first responders to provide assistance,” Wordell said. “These federal funds will increase our ability to train more officers and support personnel.”

Whitehouse said in a statement Monday crisis intervention and de-escalation training “helps officers do their jobs safely and effectively, and results in better outcomes for people dealing with mental health or substance abuse problems,” who, he says, benefit more from treatment than confinement . Reed said the funding will forge a “strong partnership” between police, mental health experts and healthcare providers, resulting in “a safer community and better outcomes for people going through a mental health crisis.”

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Susan Jacobsen, Thundermist’s Senior Director of Health Equity Initiatives, said in a statement that advocates have been working for decades to bring the Memphis Model Crisis Intervention Team program, which she calls the “gold standard” in crisis response, to Rhode Island. “CIT has 30 years of research showing that it improves outcomes for people experiencing a behavioral crisis. CIT increases diversion to treatment and recovery, reduces the use of force and improves officer well-being and safety,” Jacobsen said.

James Bessette is the editor of PBN’s special projects and also covers the non-profit and education sectors. You can reach him at [email protected] You can also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette

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This post RI Police Departments Receive $1.2M in Federal Funds to Support Crisis Intervention Programs

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