Wicomico & Somerset Counties Create Crisis Intervention Team - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Wicomico & Somerset Counties Create Crisis Intervention Team

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WMDT 47 NEWS – A Crisis Intervention Team is underway in Wicomico and Somerset counties.

According to reports, the Wicomico Behavioral Health Authority and Somerset Core Service Agency was awarded $52,632 from the Mental Hygiene Administration to begin development and implementation of the team.  The CIT program is reportedly a community effort enjoining law enforcement and the community for common goals of safety, understanding, and service to the behavioral health population and their families. The program trains police officers to interact with individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis.

In just Wicomico County last year, Heather Brown, director of Wicomico Behavior Health Authority, says that law enforcement agencies had more than 800 situations where they had to take someone to the hospital to get an evaluation.

"They're out there they're dealing with these individuals on a daily basis," says Brown. "This gives law enforcement the ability to be able to understand and assess a little bit better the situations."

Team partners include law enforcement agencies for Wicomico and Somerset Counties, Community Corrections, Mental Health Providers, Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse Providers, Peer Advocacy, Life Crisis, Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Salisbury University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Department of Social Services.

Health officials say the model for the Wicomico and Somerset teams will be based on the Memphis Model, which was established in 1988 after the tragic shooting by a police officer of a man with a serious mental illness. Brown says they are currently looking at CIT training in Montgomery County to get some ideas, then will see what type of curriculum to create for Wicomico and Somerset counties. Currently, they are planning for the training to be 40 hours long.

"With this training, we hope that this will reduce any type of injury to the party that's involved, family members, as well as the police officer," says Lt. Krah Plunkert, with the Maryland State Police Princess Anne Barrack in Somerset County.

Brown says the team creates better communication, but is also a preventative tool.

"It gives you a better early warning system, you may be able to identify some situations that could turn out to be a bad situation."

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