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CCSO Crisis Intervention Team trained to de-escalate tense situations

With the recent cases of police brutality coming to light, many are calling for a restructuring of police departments.

In Collier County deputies are trained from the beginning to de-escalate tense situations.

CIT stands for Crisis Intervention Team. It’s a 40-hour class that deputies at the Collier County Sheriff’s Office take so they can better empathize and step into your shoes when you need help.

“There’s an exercise where we can have the deputy learn what it’s like to hear voices and then try to respond to a command and that’s very powerful. They feel the frustration,” said Pam Baker, CEO of Nami Collier County.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) also brings in a family panel where deputies will hear stories from families of those with mental illnesses or disabilities who have had both negative and positive interactions with law enforcement.

They also take tours of the Sarah Ann Center and David Lawerence Center.

This allows them to become familiarized with the different resources throughout our community so they can direct people to the help they need.

“Being able to stay calm a situation and truly assess what’s going on with the individual and meet them where they are at that moment in time, and then facilitate some change either directing them into our social services that are out there, treatment and keeping him out of jail if at all possible,” said Lt. Leslie Weidenhammer of the Mental Health Bureau.

More than 2,000 people have completed this training course. Participants range from deputies to judges to attorneys and even paramedics.

Reporter:Janae Muchmore
Writer:Lincoln Saunders
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