Law Enforcement Initiative
About the Project
The Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute provides consultation to Florida communities wishing to establish a first responder program for individuals in emotional crises. The program requires a grassroots organization of behavioral healthcare providers, law enforcement, consumers, families, and advocates. The principal product of this organization is the 40-hour training for law enforcement to better understand and interact with individuals with a mental illness. Following the establishment of a training program, staff works with the steering committee and member agencies to implement the law enforcement based response system. The model of CIT was first established in Memphis in 1988 and now operates in over 400 communities nationally.
The Department has developed the C.A.F. Model for First Response for use in this law enforcement training. The purpose of this training is to provide information to assist officers in responding to persons in the community who are experiencing symptoms of a mental illness and are in crisis. The training introduces the C.A.F. Model for First Response, concepts and techniques for prompting de-escalation in first response situations, and techniques for facilitating first response situations to appropriate resolutions. The training also emphasizes the positive aspects of law enforcement interactions with individuals experiencing a mental illness and provides additional tools to utilize during first response crisis situations.
The Department also conducts C.A.F. Train-the Trainer workshops to assist law enforcement agencies in developing training curriculum to meet the needs of their department. This workshop focuses on providing the law enforcement trainer with information on the C.A.F. Model, training resources, and strategies for curriculum development. Our division has provided consultation for the Federal Bureau of Investigation and many law enforcement jurisdictions in the Tampa Bay area. We submitted curriculum to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement on interacting with persons with a mental illness.
The Institute in collaboration with the Florida CIT Coalition has also developed a self-assessment tool for local law enforcement agencies to determine their progress in developing their CIT program and its consistency with the Memphis model.
Additional resources including a Toolkit are available by contacting the Department.
Link to the website for the Florida CIT Coalition at http://www.floridacit.org/