PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A collaborative training program between the Philadelphia Police Department and the city’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services marked its 10 year anniversary with an awards breakfast and celebration on Friday morning.
The Crisis Intervention Team trained more than 2,700 officers with the Philadelphia Police Department, local colleges, the housing authority, Federal Reserve Bank, and SEPTA since its inception in 2007.
Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator Michele Dowell says officers involved in the program undergo 40 hours of training in a week with a focus on how to safely handle interactions between law enforcement and residents with mental health issues.
“We cover topics from basic mental health 101, substance addiction, we teach them about de-escalation. The whole focus and premise around the program is how to de-escalate and not escalate a situation,” Dowell said.
Dowell says officers are then given access to the proper resources in order to direct those residents to the help they need.
The breakfast ceremony featured remarks from Commissioner Richard Ross, plaques to recognize people who are vital to the program’s success, and some officers sharing stories about how their Crisis Intervention Training helped them save lives in real-life situations.