The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has received a federal grant to support law enforcement crisis intervention training. The department delivers CIT training throughout the state, and has trained approximately 1,900 Oklahoma law enforcement officers from 170 different agencies. Awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the grant provides $121,000 per year, for up to five years, to support training expansion, coordination and outreach.
The program is a national, evidence-based law enforcement intervention training to aid in responding to situations involving mental health crisis. It promotes officer safety and the safety of the individual in crisis. Once trained, officers work in partnership with local mental health providers, families, advocacy organizations and others to improve community crisis response and overcome stigma.
Officers participating in the training receive instruction in situations unique to mental health response. It is more than just a first-responder training in that it helps to train officers in community partnership and problem-solving. Research shows that communities utilizing the model have higher success rates in resolving serious crisis situations. The program has been cited as helping to reduce inappropriate incarceration of people experiencing mental illness and providing relief to an overburdened criminal justice system.