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Crisis Intervention Team moving from Missoula Fire Dept. to MPD

Officials from the city of Missoula announced this week that the Crisis Intervention Team, which has been in operation for seven years, would be transferred from the fire department to the police department.

A press statement from the city said that since Missoula relies on trained law enforcement personnel to react to calls involving mental health crises, the program will be better suited for the police department.

Crisis team leaders said that people who are a part of the program would be better equipped to perform their purpose under the canopy of the police department, which includes law-enforcement data monitoring and other administrative responsibilities.

This next stage, according to program director Theresa Williams, will “assist us in moving closer to our CIT program goals, provide us with more direct and consistent access to law enforcement, and provide us with more access to critical data that will allow us to examine changes in the involvement of people with serious mental illnesses in the criminal justice system.

The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) initiative brings together law enforcement, mental health experts, mental health advocates, and other community workers to improve response times to mental health emergencies.

More than 50 Missoula police officers have completed crisis intervention training according to the city.

Claiborne Bopp, shelter manager at the Poverello Center, noted that the CIT program had “dramatically boosted communication between the Poverello Center, law enforcement, and first responders.” The CIT training has improved our ability to convey crucial observations and define demands when a client is facing a mental health crisis, which has resulted in increased safety for all parties involved.

According to national research, crisis intervention training enhances law enforcement officers’ awareness of mental illness while also lowering the number of police injuries during mental health calls. According to study, it also helps maintain law enforcement’s attention on criminal activity and saves money.