Crisis Intervention Team
The 37th District CIT Council was created in 2018 through a joint effort of the West Plains Police Department and the Howell County Sheriffs Office, The Council is made up from members of Law Enforcement agencies, Mental Health organizations, Mental Health professionals, Social Workers, and community outreach programs. After the formation of the Council a training program was developed based on the Memphis Model and CIT Council guidelines and standards. In October of 2019 there were a total of thirty graduates from the program including ten members of the West Plains Police Department.
The mission of Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) is to promote and support the effective development and implementation of CIT programs in Missouri that will allow the criminal justice and mental health systems to cooperate in order to prevent inappropriate incarceration of individuals with mental illness.
As evidenced by our own statistics, as well as statistics nationwide, law enforcement agencies are seeing a massive increase in the frequency of encountering persons in the midst of a mental health crisis. In an effort to better assist citizens of West Plains suffering from mental health conditions, the Department has continued its training with the CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Program. This nationally recognized program trains officers on resources available to persons in crisis as well as the best way to communicate with these individuals.
It is the goal of the West Plains Police Department to see every Officer trained in the CIT Program. By having these officers trained in CIT we are able to increase the number of citizens that receive the resources they need as well as reduce the likelihood that an individual with mental health conditions “slip through the cracks.”
The Department puts the CIT training as one of its highest priorities because, unlike the criminal element the department encounters, persons in mental health crisis are typically suffering through no fault of their own and the department sees it as our responsibility to ensure that we begin the process of getting these persons the assistance they so desperately need.