The Seneca Falls Police Department and mental health services have teamed up to provide cutting edge training for law enforcement officers. The goal of CIT is to teach officers how to effectively manage crisis situations in the field. The training is designed to teach officers how to manage crises (when time, officer safety and terrain allow) when engaging with individuals suffering from a mental health emergency.
The CIT training provides an additional set of tools which officers can utilize to de-escalate situations and obtain a safe and positive outcome for the individual and officer. This is accomplished by teaching officers the inner workings of a crisis, including the feelings and emotions (or lack thereof) that a person experiences during a crisis situation.
The CIT curriculum addresses a wide array of topics including mental health disorders, medical issues, psychotropic drugs and their side effects, juvenile and geriatric mental health, suicide and suicide intervention, dual diagnosis, vicarious trauma and conflict resolution, suicide by cop, PTSD signs and symptoms, veteran encounters and interactions, and homeless outreach.
The Seneca Falls Police Department also has the ability to utilize an iPad to connect individuals in need of mental health services with clinicians remotely via a secure teleconferencing software. This resource will be used as another tool to assist the officers responding to persons in crisis. It will be used to determine the best course of action for the situation at hand.
The first purpose of the program is to increase access to mental health personnel. This program is not meant to take the place of in-person evaluations, however, we have the ability to connect the individual directly to Seneca County Mental Health or the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) team located at Clifton Springs Hospital.
Having this ability will decrease the often-difficult interaction with Law Enforcement and an individual suffering from a mental health crisis. Utilizing the iPad for a mental health evaluation, allowing the individual to stay home and stabilize is a win-win situation for all involved.
In addition to the benefits listed above, this program also decreases unnecessary transports; by law enforcement or ambulance, to mental health facilities. Since beginning the program in August of 2020, our agency has dramatically reduced the number of transports to a hospital for a face-to-face mental health evaluation. This program gets law enforcement back in service faster and able to take other calls for service in the town.