Local police host the 2017 Mental Health Resource and Awareness Night
Surprise, AZ (October 2, 2017) On Thursday, September 28, 2017, from 6:30 until 8 pm, YOUR Surprise Police and the El Mirage Police Department partnered with several local mental health providers to host the 2017 Mental Health Resource and Awareness Night.
The event was designed to introduce the public to the agencies’ Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) and to share mental health and crisis information, along with alternatives to a police response during a mental health crisis. Also, the event was aimed at building and strengthening the current partnership between Your Surprise Police, the El Mirage Police, and the local mental health providers.
During the event, citizens joined the CIT Teams and the mental health providers as they learned more about the CIT programs and the other resourced currently being offered by the local mental health providers. The mental health providers present at the event included; the Crisis Response Network, La Fronteria Arizona Empact, Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care, Marc Community Resources, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Arizona, NAMI Valley of the Sun, Partners in Recovery, RI International, Terros Health, Touchstone, and Veteran Resources. Without these developing partnerships, these types of community collaborative events would not be possible.
Crisis Intervention Team programs are a model of community policing that brings together law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency departments and individuals with mental illness and their families to improve responses to people in crisis. These local CIT Programs are modeled after the “Memphis Model”. In 1988, the Memphis Police Department joined in partnership with the Alliance on Mental Illness, mental health providers, and two local universities in organizing, training, and implementing a specialized unit. The programs have experienced success in lowering the percentage of mentally ill persons being incarcerated, lowered the percentage of injured officers, and injuries sustained by the mentally ill persons involved in a crisis situation.
Successfully organized CIT programs have also proven to save the public money. Pre-booking jail diversion programs, including CIT, can help reduce the recidivism rate for people with mental illness by approximately 58%. Additionally, these types of community based policing models can also help law enforcement agencies build community confidence in the police when dealing with crisis situations.
YOUR Surprise Police and the El Mirage Police are also both current members of the West Valley CIT Coalition. The West Valley CIT Coalition was created in 2016 to increase training opportunities for law enforcement agencies and to meet the identified need for additional CIT Officers. The West Valley CIT Coalition is broadening the scope of the training to allow for additional public safety attendees, such as Dispatch, Detention, Fire & Medical personnel. he expanded mission enhances partnerships, increases awareness of mental illness and the shared responsibility that we all have to the communities we serve. Public safety partners include Surprise, El Mirage, Peoria, Goodyear, Avondale, Buckeye, Tolleson, and Glendale.
The men and women of Your Surprise Police Department and the El Mirage Police Department want to thank our community partners from the mental health community and the citizens who joined us at the event for their assistance in making the 2017 Mental Health Resource and Awareness Night a huge success!