LaPorte Co. launches Crisis Intervention Team

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 5:24 PM EST
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LA PORTE COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - A new LaPorte County team of police officers is out on patrol, better equipped to help people who are dealing with mental health problems or trauma.

Just last week, the county’s Crisis Intervention Team (C.I.T.) became certified through a 40-hour course. LaPorte County’s C.I.T. has 25 members who hail from the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan City Police Department, LaPorte Police Department, the Long Beach Police Department, and LaPorte County 911 Dispatch.

“These officers now are given the tools to safely get people that are dealing with mental illness and trauma to the correct location,” explained Michigan City Assistant Police Chief Marty Corley.

Corley said officers encounter a large population of people who may need more connection to mental health resources.

“For instance, a person that might be dealing with schizophrenia, might be dealing anxiety, for instance, you might get a person that might be out in public, that might be seeing or hearing voices. Again, I mean, it’s, it’s not against the law to have a mental illness,” Corley stated. “Jail is not the place for them, that, you know, they either need to be en route to the hospital or to see somebody that can further deal with the issues that they’re experiencing, or the trauma that they’re experiencing.”

One goal is to reduce people’s chances of being incarcerated or being jailed again. C.I.T.-trained personnel can identify their needs and instead transport them to a hospital or counseling services safely.

“We’re not psychologists, but we will have the skills or the skill set and the resources and the training to get those people to the proper people so that they can be seen and helped. And we can reduce recidivism as opposed to taking them to jail,” he said.

Over the next two years, the goal is to train and certify 120 local law enforcement officers in the 40-hour C.I.T. certification. The next round of training for new LaPorte County C.I.T members is scheduled for March.