Meridian, Miss. Specialists from Memphis led a training session for trainers in Meridian, as agencies seek to be better equipped to handle encounters with the mentally ill. That includes local mental health experts and law enforcement officers.
The Crisis Intervention Team has become a very important tool for law enforcement officers. It helps officers who come into contact with people who may have a mental illness get the right kind of help.
C.I.T. officers have said this has been very beneficial to them in performing their jobs and serving the public which includes people who suffer from mental illness.
"In the past, before C.I.T., when law enforcement would come in contact with mentally ill people, most of the time it wound up with that person going to jail, or just left there for the family to have to deal with," said Meridian police Lt. John Griffith. "Now this gives us a tool to carry them and put them in our single point of entry, that's CMRC (Central Mississippi Residential Center in Newton)."
Officials with Weems Mental Health, CMRC, Alliance Hospital, Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department, and the Meridian Police Department participated in the training session.