PARK HILLS – Mineral Area College Law Enforcement Academy instructors, in collaboration with BJC Behavioral Health professionals, will offer free, crisis intervention team (CIT) training from April 28-May 2 at MAC LEA in the Public Safety Building on the Park Hills campus.
CIT programs are local initiatives that work to improve the way law enforcement and community members respond to people who are experiencing mental health crises. The movement is designed to educate and prepare police officers who come into contact with people with mental illness.
Mineral Area College Law Enforcement Academy Director Major Rich Flotron is overseeing the training, and can be reached at 573-518-2341 for more details and to register.
Highly-skilled and specially-trained officers — equipped with knowledge of basic crisis intervention, traumatic stress, substance abuse, mental health, liability and legal issues, suicide intervention, active listening, special populations, verbal de-escalation, and cultural diversity — comprise the foundation of a Crisis Intervention Team. Flotron said, through the 40 hours of specialized training they receive, participating officers are able to deal with crisis situations.
“We are actually the first law enforcement academy in Missouri to incorporate this specialized training into our basic academy,” Flotron said. “This certification is a hot commodity for law enforcement agencies seeking to hire the best recruits to fill their positions. There are currently four CIT certified officers in St. Francois County, and they all work for Farmington Police Department, so in essence, this will increase those numbers 10 times. We have also opened the training up to corrections officers along with officers from the juvenile division.”
Flotron said trained officers are keenly aware of the divergent issues facing people on the street and in their communities. He said trained officers are capable of defusing a situation by their understanding and ability to relate to what the person is going through.