The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) of Southwest Colorado is a regional program focusing on ways of improving law enforcement and community response to behavioral health crisis. The program seeks to foster collaboration between law enforcement, behavioral health providers and the individuals and families in our communities.
Since 2003, this program has been providing police officers the knowledge to identify, prevent and de-escalate crisis situations. By actively using the skills gained in this training, CIT officers can successfully manage volatile crisis situations that may threaten both officer and citizens.
Twenty-five local law enforcement personnel from Southwest Colorado recently completed the CIT training in Durango. Of those 25, five graduates of this training were from the Ignacio area and included 3 from the Southern Ute Detention Center, 1 from Southern Ute Police Department, and 1 from Ignacio Police Department.
Officers participate in 40 hours of classroom training involving education on mental health and substance use disorder signs and symptoms, appropriate medications and side effects, use of verbal de-escalation skills, active listening skills and improved tactical responses. A highlight of the training was 11 hours of practice with a specially trained troupe of professional actors who specialize in law enforcement training.
Other agencies represented included La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office, Bayfield Marshall’s Office, Durango Police Department, Mercy Regional Medical Center Security, La Plata County Detention Center, Useful Public Service, and Axis Health System.
Officer of the Year
Each year, there is also a nomination process for CIT Officer of the Year awards. This year, this select group of individuals included Sgt. Nikolas Ezzell of the Southern Ute Detention Center (SUDC). Other recipients of this award included Officer Greg Dodd, Durango Police Department, and Sgt. Bren Berryhill & Lt. Ed Aber, La Plata County Sheriff’s Office. These individuals were honored for their outstanding contribution to the community as CIT Officers at the annual Crisis Intervention Team Training graduation ceremony on April 28.
For more information, contact Mary Trujillo Young or Jennifer GoodTracks at the Southern Ute Health Center – 970-563-4581