Academic Training to Inform Police Responses

Academic Training to Inform Police Responses

A National Initiative to Enhance Police Engagement with People with Behavioral Health Conditions and Developmental Disabilities

Initiative Overview

For law enforcement officers, responding to situations involving individuals with behavioral health (BH) conditions (including mental health and substance use) and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in a safe, effective manner can often present a significant challenge.

The Academic Training to Inform Police Responses is a national initiative designed to (1) raise awareness in the policing community about the nature and needs of people with BH conditions and IDD; (2) provide training and resources on BH, IDD, and crisis response; and (3) support the use of evidence-informed, best practices in these responses. Supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), researchers from the University of Cincinnati (UC) - in collaboration with Policy Research Associates (PRA), The Arc of the United States' National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability (NCCJD), and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) - work to assist police agencies in the development and delivery of multi-layered responses to people with BH conditions and IDD.

Academic Training to Inform Police Responses   University of Cincinnati

          

Initiative Design and Implementation

Under the Academic Training Initiative, the partners will engage in the following activities:

  1. Develop, implement, and evaluate a national training on crisis response for law enforcement
    • Develop the Crisis Response and Intervention Training (CRIT)
    • Pilot-test training within multiple law enforcement agencies in 2022
    • Evaluate training and effectiveness within law enforcement agencies
  2. Provide technical assistance (TA) to support communities in their development, enhancement, and implementation of crisis response programs
    • Deliver customized TA to law enforcement agencies
    • Facilitate peer-to-peer learning for TA sites
  3. Develop best practice guides and new resources to inform police responses to individuals with BH conditions and IDD
    • Develop a comprehensive review of research on police, BH, disability, and community responses to BH and IDD-related crisis incidents
    • Create written resources to guide police responses to individuals with BH conditions and IDD
    • Host webinars presenting information on topics related to crisis response
  4. Develop technology solutions to increase accessibility of training and technical assistance (TTA) and encourage the use of evidence-informed practices for crisis response
    • Create CRIT e-learning modules to increase availability/accessibility of training
    • Translate resources on crisis response into virtual/e-learning format

Partner Organizations

Supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), this initiative brings together experts in law enforcement, behavioral health, disabilities, curriculum development, and evaluation to raise awareness in the law enforcement community about the nature and needs of persons with behavioral health (BH) conditions and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to facilitate the use of evidence-informed and best practices in crisis response. More information on the Academic Training Initiative partner organizations can be found here.

Crisis Response and Intervention Training (CRIT)

The Crisis Response and Intervention Training (CRIT) is a 40-hour training program designed to prepare police officers in their response to people experiencing crises related to behavioral health (BH) conditions and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This training is based upon the Memphis Model of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training and is designed to complement the development and delivery of crisis response programs planned by law enforcement agencies and BH/disability service providers in the community.

This 40-hour training program includes 21 modules of varying lengths and learning styles. These modules focus on topical areas such as BH and IDD, community engagement and resources, systems and research considerations, and scenario-based skills.

Following participation in the Crisis Response and Intervention Training (CRIT), officers will have a better understanding of the types of challenges that persons with BH conditions and IDD face, have knowledge of community resources that can aid in the diversion of individuals from the criminal justice system, and have skills to assist in the management of situations involving people experiencing BH and IDD-related crises.

The 40-hour training matrix can be found here.

CRIT Pilot Site Selection Announcement

Three agencies have been selected to participate as pilot sites for the Crisis Response and Intervention Training in 2021. Congratulations to the Corvallis (OR) Police Department, Pittsburgh (PA) Bureau of Police, and Rapid City (SD) Police Department!

These agencies will receive intensive technical assistance, training, and companion resources from a national pool of subject matter experts to adopt and operationalize a crisis response program. Agencies will engage in comprehensive strategic planning – including program design, implementation, and partnership-building – and training to promote effective and safer responses to persons experiencing a crisis, or at risk of experiencing a crisis, related to behavioral health conditions (including mental health and substance use) and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Other CRIT Resources 

Resources Developed Through The Academic Training Initiative

The following resources were developed through the Academic Training Initiative and are designed to support law enforcement agencies and communities in the development, implementation, and evaluation of crisis response programs.

  1. Written Products
  2. Past Events
    • Policing and People with Developmental Disabilities: Emerging Issues in the Field – Presented April 28th, 2022  

      Webinar Description 
      In recent years, there has been greater awareness that developmental disabilities may go undetected in individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice system. As first responders, law enforcement officers may encounter people with developmental disabilities or co-occurring conditions (mental health conditions and developmental disabilities) and as such have an opportunity to set the stage for effective interactions with the justice system for this population. Understanding how to interact with people with developmental disabilities—including identification, communication, and de-escalation—can enhance the safety and effectiveness of these encounters.

      Presented by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance's Academic Training to Inform Police Responses Initiative, this webinar will provide an overview of this topic from the perspectives of law enforcement and a person with a developmental disability, including emerging issues and practical tips officers can use to respond effectively to this population. 

      Presenters
    1. Chief William Scott  
      San Francisco (CA) Police Department
    2. Chief Ronald Sellon 
      Mansfield (MA) Police Department
    3. Russell Lehmann  
      Internationally Recognized Motivational Speaker, Author, and Advocate
    4. Leigh Ann Davis, Senior Director of Criminal Justice Initiatives  
      The Arc of the United States

      Webinar Video

      Webinar Slides

      Webinar Transcript

    • Preparing for Success: Strategic Planning for Collaborative Crisis Response - Hosted at IACP Conference 2021 

      Workshop Description
      The development and delivery of effective crisis response programs require collaboration between law enforcement (LE), behavioral health (BH), and disability stakeholders. Key to these efforts is strategic planning to identify how individuals experiencing BH and disability-related crises interact with the criminal justice and crisis response systems. Strategic planning highlights gaps and strengths within existing systems and services to inform collaborative crisis response. This panel features LE, BH, and disability professionals from communities who have participated in strategic planning for a collaborative crisis response program. These professionals spoke about their experiences with the strategic planning process and identified key steps for effective collaboration.

      Workshop Recording
      Workshop Slide Deck
      Workshop Handout
       
    • Crisis Response for Rural Communities: Using Technology and Peer Support to Meet People in Crisis, Where They Are - Presented September 16, 2021 

      Webinar Description 
      Rural communities can face many challenges developing and delivering crisis response programs for people with behavioral health conditions and intellectual and developmental disabilities, including wide geographic areas to serve, limitations in options for local treatment and social services, and resource constraints related to funding and staffing. Across the United States, rural communities have adapted best practices in crisis response to overcome these challenges and address the need for services in their jurisdictions by having mental health providers meet people in crisis where they are, either in-person or through telehealth services. These programs can prevent the need for additional resources, such as police and emergency medical services, to respond to individuals in crisis and may enhance short- and long-term outcomes for these individuals.

      Presented by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance's Academic Training to Inform Police Responses Initiative, this webinar featured two programs that have adapted crisis response for use in rural communities. Panelists presented the innovative approaches in crisis response implemented by their programs and discussed the challenges of ensuring the needs of individuals in crisis who live in rural communities are met. Additionally, the Academic Training team highlighted key resources to support rural communities in developing and implementing crisis response in their jurisdiction. 

      Presentations
      1. Crisis Response for Rural Communities: "The GLMHC App" 
        Larry Smith, CPRSS; Chief Executive Officer 
        Grand Lake Mental Health Center, Inc.
        Josh Cantwell, LCSE; Chief Operating Officer 
        Grand Lake Mental Health Center, Inc.
      2. A Unique Partnership of People with Lived Experience, Law Enforcement, and Community Partners
        Kasey Moyer; Executive Director 

        Mental Health Association of Nebraska 
        Captain Mike Woolman 
        Lincoln (NE) Police Department 

        Webinar Video

        Webinar Slides

        Webinar Transcript

      • Transforming Dispatch and Crisis Response Services: Meeting Challenges with Innovation - Presented March 2, 2021

        Webinar Description
        Historically, law enforcement has been the default response to all 911 calls for service, including incidents involving individuals experiencing crises related to behavioral health conditions and intellectual and developmental disabilities. It has been observed that many of these incidents are service-based calls, where the presence of law enforcement may not be needed. In recent years, communities have increased efforts to reorganize their crisis response systems, training 911 call-takers and dispatchers to shift away from directing law enforcement as first responders to these calls. This webinar featured four programs that have leveraged the training, policies, and procedures of 911 call-takers and dispatch when restructuring their community’s response to crisis incidents. Panelists presented the innovative approaches in crisis response implemented by their programs and discussed the challenges of ensuring appropriate services are dispatched to crisis incidents to best meet the needs of individuals. 

        Presentations

      1. Training of CIT Dispatch Trainers
        Ruth H. Simera, Med, LSW; Executive Director

        Coordinating Centers of Excellence, Northeast Ohio Medical University

      2. Colorado Justice Mental Health Collaboration Program: Dispatch/Crisis Services Collaboration
        Peggy Heil, LCSW; Behavioral Health Specialist 

        Colorado Division of Criminal Justice 
        Abigail S. Tucker, PsyD 
        SHE Consulting, LLC

      3. Albuquerque Police Department's IDD Training for Telecommunicators
        Ben Melendrez, Detective

        Albuquerque (NM) Police Department

      4. Transitioning 911 Response: San Francisco's Street Crisis Response Team (SCRT) Pilot Program
        Robert Smuts, Deputy Director

        San Francisco Department of Emergency Management
        Simon Pang, Section Chief of Community Paramedicine 
        San Francisco Fire Department

        Webinar Video

        Webinar Slides

        Webinar Transcript

        911 Distressed Caller Diversion Program in Broome County, NY Fact Sheet

    • Law Enforcement Engagement with People with Behavioral Health Conditions and Developmental Disabilities Roundtable - Hosted August 18, 2020 - August 19, 2020 

      In August 2020, a multi-disciplinary group of individuals with subject matter expertise in police responses to people with behavioral health (BH) conditions and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) convened virtually to participate in the Law Enforcement Engagement with People with Behavioral Health Conditions and Developmental Disabilities Stakeholder Roundtable. This roundtable was designed to inform the work of the Academic Training to Inform Police Responses Initiative by facilitating discussions related to: 

      1. Opportunities to advance the safety and effectiveness of police engagement with people with (BH) conditions and IDD,
      2. Best practices in current crisis response models and collaboration between police and service provider partners, and
      3. Existing and needed products and resources to support police agencies and their service provider partners in the delivery of effective responses. 

        The Stakeholder Roundtable hosted presentations on existing efforts in police responses to people with BH conditions and IDD. These presentations were designed to facilitate discussions of best practices in police and community responses, methods of police-BH and police-disability collaboration, and potential barriers to effective responses to people with BH conditions and IDD.

        The presenters included: 
        Presenter Topic
        Dr. Rebecca Neusteter
        Director, University of Chicago Health Lab
        Understanding Police Response through Examining 911 Call for Service Data
        Ariel Simms, Esq.
        Senior Program Manager & Attorney, The Arc of the United States
        The Arc of the United States’ National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability Pathways to Justice® Initiative
        Assistant Chief Kevin Hall
        Tucson (AZ) Police Department
        Tucson Police Department’s Mental Health Support Team (MHST)
        Peggy Heil
        Behavioral Health Specialist, Colorado Division of Criminal Justice
        Integrated Dispatch and Crisis Service Response
        Assistant Chief Wendy Baimbridge
        Houston (TX) Police Department
        Houston Police Department’s Mental Health Division
        Tim Black
        Director of Consulting, White Bird Clinic
        Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets (CAHOOTS; Eugene, OR)
        Chief Gina Hawkins
        Fayetteville (NC) Police Department
        Fayetteville Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)
        Dr. Margie Balfour
        Chief of Quality and Clinical Innovation, Connections Health Solutions Associate Professor of Psychiatry; University of Arizona
        Southern Arizona’s Crisis Response Center and Crisis System

        A full report of the Law Enforcement Engagement with People with Behavioral Health Conditions and Developmental Disabilities Stakeholder Roundtable can be found here. This report provides:

      • An account of the planning and delivery of the Roundtable, including the processes for participant selection and activities across the two-day meeting;
      • A description of the major themes of the discussions, polls, and survey responses generated by the Stakeholder Roundtable participants; and
      • Recommendations for future efforts to facilitate collaborative responses to people with BH issues and IDD within communities.

Bureau of Justice Assistance Logo

This project was supported by Grant No. 2020-NT-BX-K001 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the SMART Office. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

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