Every month at the township supervisors’ meeting, the Chief of Police or his designee, give a brief summary of the activities for the police department for the previous month. The summary includes the number of calls for service to our residents, patrol miles driven, responses to accidents, selective enforcement activity and police training.
The police training is described by the topic and what officers attended. For the past three years, twice a year, we have announced officers that have attended CIT training. CIT stands for Crisis Intervention Team Training.
CIT training is a nationally recognized certified course which began in Memphis, Tennessee after a tragic event where a person suffering from a mental illness was shot and killed by the police department.
The Chester County Police Chiefs have partnered with the Chester County Mental Health and Individuals with Developmental Disabilities department to put together a free one-week course for the first responders in Chester County. West Goshen Police Department has been honored to host this training five of the six times it has been provided. To date, nearly 150 police officers, corrections officers, probation officers, and emergency dispatchers have been trained in CIT. West Goshen Police Department has trained 21 of our 31 officers to date. Our goal is to train all uniformed and criminal investigators in CIT before the end of 2020.
The CIT curriculum provides each attendee with three certifications: CIT, Mental Health First Aid, and QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer). These certifications provide first responders tools they can use to divert people to mental health treatment; instead of arresting them and putting them into the Criminal Justice System. Diversion is one of the goals of CIT.
Other topics in the course are Suicide, Hearing Distressing Voices, Verbal De-escalation, Responding to individuals with different characteristics, different intellectual disabilities, autism, Trauma, PTSD and personality disorders. In addition to the course presentations, a consumer and family panel present their stories to the attendees which provide insight from the person in crisis perspective on how they were treated by the police and the criminal justice system and why this program is so important to change the paradigm of how people in crisis are dealt with by first responders.
Upon successful completion of the course, each attendee is presented with a certificate for their training file and also a CIT pin. The pin is intended to be worn on their department uniform to identify them as CIT trained officers.
West Goshen Police Department is committed to the citizens we serve, and we hope that through this training, we offer hope to those in crisis. Today Law enforcement means much more than just enforcing laws. Responding to a large number of calls for service, we find someone or multiple people “In Crisis.” This is why we know that this training is essential to ensuring our residents and visitors to our township the respect and dignity they deserve while doing our best to keep everyone safe in a time of crisis.
Thank you to the Chester County Mental Health department for partnering with the law enforcement community to educate us to better serve those in crisis.