TWO PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE DEPUTIES GRADUATE CIT TRAINING
On March 1, 2019, two Prince William County Sheriff’s Office deputies along with 22 participants from other agencies graduated from Prince William County Crisis intervention Team (CIT) training.
CIT training provides crisis intervention skills to participants so they are better equipped to handle individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis. The program is taught by staff from the Prince William County Community Services Board (CSB) and Law Enforcement certified CIT Instructors. CIT training participants receive 40 hours of specialized training in areas such as psychiatric disorders, suicide intervention, active listening skills, substance abuse issues, de-escalation techniques, the role of the family in the care of a person with mental illness, legal training in mental health, etc.
At the graduation, Sheriff Glendell Hill spoke about the importance of continual CIT training in the community. In addition, he mentioned how he wished CIT training was available to him when he was a young officer because of how resourceful it is to public safety staff. Sheriff Hill stated, “CIT training prevents injury to public safety personnel and persons in need of treatment by providing staff with the necessary skills to handle crisis situations.”
According to CIT Instructor and Sheriff’s Office Deputy, Gregory Johnson, “CIT training helps shape the way law enforcement personnel do community policing by identifying individuals who need truly need clinical treatment versus being incarcerated.” Deputy Johnson reflected back on when he went through CIT training and the impact it had on him. He stated, “CIT training provided me with a perspective on some of the challenges individuals with mental health illnesses experience daily while doing normal activities. It made me more empathetic to their situation.” The Sheriff’s Office goal is to have every sworn staff in the department trained in CIT. So far, over half of the departments sworn staff are CIT certified including two of their recent graduates – Deputy Sean Whitmore and Deputy Joshua Thompson.