LCSO Recipient of Justice and Mental Health Grant

Above, a young man talks with a mental health counselor. Highwaystarz©

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) is proud to announce being awarded the Federal Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program Grant, totaling $250,000.

The grant will be used to vastly expand the public sector’s training and response to mental health incidents in Lake County.

The Lake County Crisis Intervention Team program will coordinate a consistent training and response model for law enforcement, which is specific to mental health responses throughout Lake County, to aid persons in crisis. Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Officers will receive specialized training to help them evaluate various mental health crisis incidents stemming from a variety of mental health conditions including schizophrenia, substance abuse related disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and PTSD. The design of the program is based on relationship building and problem solving capabilities of first responders, mental health professionals, and the community.

Proper response to a person in mental crisis is imperative for first-responders.” – Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran 

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has been leading this project and will be assisted by the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center, College of Lake County, Nicasa Behavioral Health Services, and other Lake County treatment providers, to train over 300 additional police officers over a three year period. 

The long term goal of this grant is to develop a county-wide program which will provide certified crisis intervention team training to all law enforcement officers.  Additionally, to provide compatible crisis intervention team training to service providers and those who have community contact with persons suffering from mental illness and/or substance abuse issues. An additional goal is to form a partnership between law enforcement, mental health providers, advocacy groups, and community organizations that are seeking treatment for those in crisis as an alternative to incarceration.

“This grant is extremely significant in our efforts to enhance our abilities in a more efficient and effective manner while interacting with the community,” said Undersheriff Ray Rose. “The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has been leading the effort to train police officers throughout Lake County and this grant will allows us to increase those efforts tremendously.  Our goal is to train 100 percent of Lake County police officers as CIT members, even though the grant only requires 40 percent to be trained, over the next three years.  We are grateful for the funding and look forward to utilizing this resource for the betterment of Lake County.”

Until 2015, only 80 police officers throughout Lake County (six percent) were trained as CIT members.  In 2016, LCSO took the lead in organizing and hosting three CIT classes, which resulted in an additional 88 police officers (totaling 12 percent) being trained.  To date, 61 members of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office have been trained as CIT members.  The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is hosting another class in December of 2016.

LCSO is not only training highway patrol deputies as CIT members, but also training dispatchers, correctional officers, detectives, court security officers, warrants deputies, and civil process deputies.  The sheriff’s office will also be implementing training for all civilian personnel who interact with members of the community. 

 “We are very proud to have been awarded this grant,” stated Sheriff Mark Curran. “Proper response to a person in mental crisis is imperative for first-responders.  The Lake County Sheriff’s Office is taking major initiatives to ensure law enforcement and others are properly trained to evaluate and deescalate mental health crisis incidents.”

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