Members of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s new Crisis Intervention Team were introduced to local behavioral health professionals and hospital and emergency medical personnel today at a forum hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness - St. Tammany at Slidell Memorial Hospital Founders Building.
This specially trained Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is made up of four patrol deputies, who were selected through an extensive application and interview process. Each deputy then successfully completed 40 hours of crisis intervention training, facilitated by the nationally recognized San Antonio Police Department Crisis Intervention Team.
Members of the team are trained to use de-escalation techniques when dealing with individuals in crisis and to coordinate with the appropriate resources to provide follow up assistance to those in need.
The goal of the team is to address the growing number of attempted suicides, behavioral health, PTSD, and substance abuse related calls that come into dispatch. The team also works to address the homeless issues in the parish and are tasked with training other departmental personnel in crisis intervention techniques, public outreach through education and information sharing, as well as in how to provide peer-to-peer support for their fellow law enforcement personnel.
CIT deputies work hand-in-hand with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), the St. Tammany Parish Government, the 22nd Judicial District Court System, the Coroner’s office, the School Board, and other entities, both public and private, to address the behavioral health and substance abuse issues in our parish.
St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Randy Smith who spoke at the event emphasized the importance of developing the resources and knowledge to assist mentally ill individuals in our community.
“Generally people call the police when there is a behavioral health crisis. Past protocol oftentimes resulted in individuals being arrested or routed to local emergency rooms,” Sheriff Smith said. “We want to stop putting these individuals in jail and instead get them the appropriate help they need.”
NAMI-St. Tammany is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase awareness and advocate for families and persons with mental health issues.
Public Information Officer - Contact Information
Deputy Meredith Timberlake – 985-809-8207 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured from left: Dy. Adrianne Bieller, Dy. David Landrum, Sheriff Randy Smith, Major Wharton Muller, Dy. Jonathon Cook, Dy. Jessica Roden