CIT training teaches officers how to work with people going through mental health crisis

CIT training teaches officers how to work with people going through mental health crisis (WKEF/WRGT)

BUTLER TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Police officers can find themselves in a terrifying situation if a weapon is suddenly pulled on them, and Butler Township Police recently had to talk down a man with a gun.

The call did end safety, thanks to special training that is helping officers identify and work with people who are suffering from a mental health crisis.

Butler Township police give FOX 45's Kelly May an inside look at the department's crisis intervention training (CIT).

"At any time, an individual could go from zero to 150 miles per hour with the way in which they're acting," Butler Township Chief John Porter said.

He showed FOX 45 cruiser camera video of the officers responding to the call and trying to coax the subject out of his home.

"Law enforcement has become a target of individuals that have not been able to deal with the de-escalation in a positive manner," Porter said.

Porter has had three Butler Township officers CIT trained. The first two who arrived at last week's scene were two of them.

"Come out and talk to us," an officer can be heard calmly saying over his loudspeaker at the scene.

"When the officers arrived they were able to engage with this individual," he said. "We were able to talk him down, talk him out without us bringing in a SWAT team."

"It can sometimes be a matter of life and death," Jennifer Cox said. "It can decrease the use of force for the officers and really limit the opportunity to have to go in that direction if it's done according to the training."

Cox is the training director at ADAMHS Montgomery County. She said the CIT training helps divert those who need help during a mental health crisis into hospitals, instead of the corrections system.

Cox said ADAMHS has helped train 340 officers from 30 local agencies in recent years since the training has been available.

"Even if they do have to take someone to a hospital they know a person- at least it’s a warm hand off," Cox said.

On the Butler Township call, officers identify the case by asking the right questions once the subject is in custody, without anyone getting hurt.

"We were able to take him to the hospital to get the type of treatment and we found out that there was an imbalance in some of his medications so it was really important that we were able to deal with that," said Chief Porter.

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