MORRIS COUNTY, NJ – The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office kicked off its first Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training on Monday, September 13 at the Morris County Public Safety Academy.
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) seeks to bring law enforcement, first responders and mental health professionals together to provide a more effective response to those who are dealing with a mental or behavioral health crisis. The 40-hour training provides knowledge on different types of mental disorders and conditions – including schizophrenia, depression, developmental disabilities and autism.
The training develops skills to promote safe encounters with law enforcement by teaching communication and de-escalation techniques, and enables participants to provide information and access to services that can aid these persons in lieu of incarceration. The curriculum consists of classroom instruction, community site visits and practical exercises delivered by local mental health professionals, CIT law enforcement instructors, and other subject matter experts.
Morris County Prosecutor Robert J Carroll commended the organizational work by Supervising Assistant Prosecutors Meg Rodriguez and LaJuan Tucker in bringing this important program to Morris County and thanked all the dedicated instructors who presented the course.
Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll opened the training by welcoming the class, comprised of members of law enforcement, psychiatric screening professionals and clinicians. The initial instructors included Captain Abdul Williams of the Linden Police Department, Deana Ackerman of the Mental Health Association of Essex/Morris, Kim Telling of Saint Clare’s Behavioral Health, Maria Merida of Atlantic Health Systems, Lt. Mark Castellano of the Morris County Prosecutors Office and Det. Scott McGowan of the Montville Police Department. The training is being facilitated by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Pre-Trial Services Unit, along with members of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Special Offenders Unit and CITNJ Director Ed Dobleman.
“This course has already been highly successful in other counties, and our goal is to have members of every police department in Morris County trained in this special curriculum. We have also enhanced our existing diversion efforts by developing and enhancing a new mental health diversion program that will coordinate with other county and local agencies, including our partners in the Mental Health Association of Essex/Morris, in getting treatment to those who need it, instead of arrest and prosecution,” Carroll said.