In 2019, Pines Behavioral Health set up a crisis intervention program to help Branch County law enforcement and other first responders assist people in distress.  

Central dispatch often gets 911 calls with people threatening families, causing problems in businesses, or acting erratically on the streets.  

From Jan. 1 through July 31 this year, Branch County law enforcement officers responded to 349 mental health-related calls, where the Crisis Intervention Team assisted.   

Crisis Intervention Teams now respond when called by police to help de-escalate confrontations with individuals who are often just angry, upset, or facing mental health issues. 

Kurt Gawrisch, a Chicago police officer and a specialist/instructor with CIT International, explains how to talk to people in crisis to ease their fears.

Pines jail diversion coordinator Mark Katz said before CIT in such situations, “It didn’t matter, you went to jail.” 

Katz said the calls, “Do not count the number where first responders were sent to for something else but ended up being a mental health situation.” 

Last week, seven more law enforcement officers, including Quincy’s two new officers, a juvenile court officer, and four Pines mental health providers, received 40 hours of crisis intervention training from Kurt Gawrisch, current Chicago police officer and now a specialist and instructor with CIT International and others.


By admin

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