The Police/Mental Health Coordination Project (PMHCP) began in 1990 as a collaborative effort involving key representatives of police agencies, psychiatric hospitals, emergency mental health services, the legal community, consumers, and local and state government in Erie County. The goal of the PMHCP is to increase collaboration and communication between law enforcement and mental health agencies in an effort to improve the quality of services to individuals with mental illness. Originally funded through a grant from the New York State Office of Mental Health, the PMHCP now receives continued support from the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program of the Erie County Medical Center.
Project members meet bi-monthly and collaborate on an ongoing basis to develop a shared understanding of the roles and responsibilities of law enforcement officers, mental health service providers, consumer advocates, and community members, to respond to the needs of individuals with mental illness and their families. Project meetings are an opportunity to learn about the strengths and challenges of where we are today, and to work together to improve the community’s response to individuals with mental illness. The PMHCP strives to create and develop the necessary collaborative relationships in the community and to serve as the lead forum for ongoing discussion around emergency mental health concerns for all of Erie County.
Housed within the PMHCP is Crisis Services’ Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Project. The CIT Project is aimed at developing CIT Teams in all police agencies in Erie County. Click here for more information on this project.
For additional information on the PMHCP, please contact Tracie Bussi, Police Mental Health Coordination Project Coordinator, at 834-2310 x4427 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Project, housed within Crisis Services’ Police Mental Health Project, is aimed at developing CIT Teams in all police agencies in Erie County. CIT is specialized training for law enforcement for responding to individuals with mental illness. The training focuses on identification of mental illness and referral to appropriate resources in the community, particularly immediate linkage to programs within Crisis Services, such as the Mobile Outreach Program or the CIT-Crisis Case Management Program. Through the training, police agencies ideally create CIT Teams, teams of officers within each jurisdiction designated to respond to calls on individuals with mental illness. Nationally, CIT has been shown to be effective in responding to individuals with mental illness, focusing on improved care being provided to individuals with mental illness, and creating increased trust within the community. In addition, it has also been shown to be cost-effective for the community and law enforcement, reduce use of force by officers, reduce officer injury, and focuses on jail and hospital diversion, when appropriate, and encourages linkage to community services.
Since 2015, CIT Teams have developed in the following police departments:
Cheektowaga Police Department
Town of Evans Police Department
Town of Tonawanda Police Department
City of Tonawanda Police Department
University at Buffalo Police Department
Amherst Police Department
In addition, Lancaster Police Department, Orchard Park Police Department, West Seneca Police Department, the SPCA, Erie County Probation, Erie County Sheriff’s Department, NFTA, and ECMC Police all have trained CIT Officers, and will continue to develop their CIT Teams over time.
Is your police agency interested in developing its own CIT Team? For more information, contact Jessica Stuewe at 831-4401 or email@example.com or Tracie Bussi at 834-2310 x 4427 or firstname.lastname@example.org.