LPD hosts Georgia Crisis Intervention Team training

Published 7:35 pm Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Nearly two dozen law enforcement officers and deputies from the region participated in Georgia Crisis Intervention Team training in LaGrange. 

Law enforcement from the LPD and the Troup County Sheriff’s Office, as well as officers from West Point, Newnan, Troup County and Troup County 911 and the University of West Georgia participated in the week-long training at the LPD training center. 

The objectives of the program include training law enforcement officers to safely respond to persons in a behavioral health crisis, protect the rights of the people with behavioral health disorders, and ensure people with behavioral health disorders receive treatment in lieu of being put in jail, when appropriate.

The objectives also include improving the quality and quantity of behavioral health services as well as promoting the training for criminal justice system personnel on mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease and addictive disease.

“If there is any way you can work around putting a person with a mental disorder in jail, that’s what we want you to do,” said Natalie Belcher, an LPD officer. “We always want to strive to have a peaceful resolution.”

The LPD began CIT training for its officers in 2006. All officers within the department are CIT certified. 

The Georgia CIT Program is a collaboration of professionals committed to assisting persons with behavioral health disorders (mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease and addictive disease).

This collaboration includes local members of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, mental health service providers, individuals in mental health recovery, family members, law enforcement officers and members of the judicial system.

Since the LPD started CIT training, its use of force incidents have dramatically decreased. Last year, there were 37 use of force incidents out of 4,208 arrests, a 65 percent decrease.

“There is a direct correlation in the reduction of use of force incidents and the ongoing training our officers receive,” said LPD Lt. Eric Lohr. “This training more effectively helps us deal with citizens with mental illness.”

For more information on CIT training, visit Ganet.org/gbi/cit.