Lauderdale County Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun tells the story behind the creation of the Lauderdale County Community Partnership and its Crisis Intervention Team. These teams are partnerships between law enforcement officers and a variety of agencies, including Community Mental Health Centers, primary health providers, and other behavioral health professionals. Officers who receive CIT training respond to calls with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis and divert them to an appropriate setting for treatment instead of taking them to jail.
Crisis Intervention Teams are a nationally-recognized best practice, and officers who have received CIT training have been recognized nationally as individuals with the skills needed to resolve crisis situations. From 2015 through 2017, a federal grant is enabling the Department of Mental Health to offer CIT training for up to 40 officers a year at no cost to the law enforcement agencies. For more information, contact Brent Hurley, Division of Crisis Services, at 601-359-1288.