Kenosha Police Department, NAMI are at the forefront of mental health crisis training

As a society, our understanding of the complexities of mental health and mental illness is still a work in progress.

This is especially true when it comes to people in crisis and their interactions with law enforcement and justice. A collaboration between the Kenosha chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Kenosha law enforcement provides a blueprint for other communities to follow.

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training was developed by NAMI’s Memphis chapter and the Memphis Police Department after a 1987 incident involving a mentally ill person that ended tragically. CIT programs have since been used to teach law enforcement officers how to safely and humanely handle events involving someone with a mental illness.

Law Enforcement in the Kenosha area has been at the forefront of CIT programs for its officers, beginning in 2010 with the help of former Circuit Court judge Mary Kay Wagner.

People also read…

Since 2015, Kenosha Police Department Officer Luke Hofmann has been leading CIT training for Kenosha County, working with NAMI Kenosha. In 2019, Nick Greco, owner of C3 Education and Research, came on board as a clinician and head coach; Hofmann and Rose both call Greco a valuable asset to the team.

The training coordination team has worked extremely hard to get their CIT training accredited and certified through NAMI Wisconsin. They also developed a Crisis Intervention Partners (CIP) program, which trains a broader group of people, including correctional officers, emergency dispatchers, first responders, hospital staff, teachers, social workers and more in CIT’s principals.

The Kenosha Group is one of only four in the entire state to have both their CIT and CIP programs accredited and certified.

CIT/CIP training uses principles such as de-escalation; effective use of verbal and non-verbal skills; cultural sensitivities; and more. Participants will learn key methods and techniques for improving outcomes in interactions with people amid mental health crises.

Effective CIT/CIP programs are built on strong relationships between law enforcement, mental health providers, and community members.

Agent Hofmann, NAMI Kenosha President Jack Rose and everyone involved in the CIT and CIP programs in the Kenosha area deserve credit for nurturing these relationships and proactively handling future crisis situations.

Bob Wirch, D-Somers and Van Wanggaard. R-Racine, are Wisconsin state senators.

Kenosha Police Department, NAMI are at the forefront of mental health crisis training

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top