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During the week of November 4-8, members of the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Toledo Police Department and Benton County Behavioral Health participated in a 40 hour Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training coordinated by Lincoln County Health and Human Services and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.

The week started with an 8-hour Mental Health First Aid segment, which brought additional participants from the Newport Police Department and Lincoln City Police Department.

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This CIT course is designed to:

- Provide police officers more tools to do their job safely and effectively. Research shows that CIT is associated with improved officer attitude and knowledge about mental illness.

- Keep law enforcement’s focus on crime. Some communities have found that CIT has reduced the time officers spend responding to a mental health call, this puts officers back into the community more quickly.

- Produce cost savings. It’s difficult to estimate exactly how much diversion programs can save communities. But incarceration is costly compared to community-based treatment.

Additional courses throughout the week covered a variety of topics, Crisis Intervention and De-escalation; Listening Skills; Legal Considerations; Suicide Assessment and Self Care to name a few. Representatives from the local and valley chapters of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) were present to provide information relating to NAMI as well as sharing their story from a personal and family perspective as it relates to first responders interactions with individuals experiencing a crisis.

Members of Communities Helping Addicts Negotiate Change Effectively (C.H.A.N.C.E) were also present to share their lived experience when involved in crisis situations.

The final day of training involved a wrap up of the week's skills and allowed students to participate in scenarios that are most commonly responded to by first responders. Volunteers from the Sheriff’s Office Community Advisory Group as well as Emergency Management assisted with our scenarios.

The students were provided with resource guides which included state and local contact information as well as quick assessment guides and information related to commonly used medications, all of this with the intention of further enhancing the tools each attendee has available to them when responding to crisis situations or evaluating their own health and wellness.

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