Senator George Amedore today announced he has designated the City of Amsterdam Police Department to receive state-funded training to help road patrol officers recognize and respond to mental health emergencies while on duty.
The state-wide Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is an initiative championed by the New York State Senate. $925,000 was included in this year’s budget to help police departments statewide train their road patrol officers in mental-health related issues and provide them the knowledge, skills and support necessary to de-escalate situations and divert individuals suffering from mental illness from the criminal justice system when appropriate.
“Training our law enforcement officials how to recognize and respond in situations involving those suffering with mental illness is so important,” said Senator George Amedore. “By addressing the root issues and getting individuals the treatment and services they need, it will help us end the revolving door in our criminal justice system and help us build stronger, healthier communities.”
“The Amsterdam Police Department welcomes this training opportunity provided by Senator Amedore’s office. The ever-changing face of demands placed on the law enforcement community calls for parallel needs in training to meet those demands. Training on diversion programs for those suffering from mental health issues will benefit officer and those afflicted with mental health related issues,” said Gregory Culick, Chief of Police, Amsterdam Police Department.
The training program includes a program overview, a systems mapping that will allow each community to assess their crisis response systems and identify potential changes, a week-long training program for officers, in collaboration with local mental health personnel, on how to recognize and respond to mental illness and related disorders, and a one-day mental health refresher course for officers who do not participate in the CIT training.
The City of Amsterdam Police Department expects to have approximately twenty percent of their road patrol trained, at no cost to them.
The goals of CIT programs are to reduce the number of arrests of individuals with mental illnesses, to help to divert these individuals into treatment facilities or support services, and to eliminate adverse incidents between officers and individuals suffering from mental illness.