By JERRY WOLFFE
Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority will receive a $275,370 jail diversion grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health on Jan. 1 to create a Crisis Intervention Team program and train 80 Oakland County Sheriff’s deputies.
The crisis program is a nationally recognized, community partnership between law enforcement and mental health professionals. It is designed to promote positive outcomes during crisis situations that require police assistance.
“... OCCMHA has a responsibility to ensure that valuable training resources are available to local law enforcement,” said Willie Brooks, OCCMHA Executive Director and CEO. “The CIT grant is helping us fulfill this obligation by providing timely and important training experiences to officers, so that they are better prepared to serve people in crisis.”
Deputies who participate in CIT will receive 40 hours of comprehensive mental health training, which includes information about mental illness and developmental disabilities, opportunities to speak with advocates, individuals with mental illness and their families, and participation in role-playing scenarios.
Law enforcement agencies throughout the country that utilize CIT have seen significant reductions in the number of officer and personal injuries, as well as a decrease in arrest rates.
“Our long-standing partnership with OCCMHA has served as the foundation for many initiatives that enhance the Sheriff Office’s ability to serve people who are in crisis, especially individuals with a mental illness,” said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. “Bringing CIT to Oakland County is just one more example of our commitment to work together for the betterment of our community.”