Crisis Intervention Team Expanding with Funding

Portage County will be able to enhance and expand the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) for police with funding that the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County received from the Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence at NEOMED. This is a $40,000 sub-award for a project funded by Department of Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services to support CIT programming across the state.

The Mental Health & Recovery Board together with the Sheriff’s Office have held the 40-hour CIT police officer trainings since 2006. However, CIT is more than just the training; it is a core component of our local crisis response system and community engagement. The CIT program encourages police officers to work with behavioral health partners to redirect individuals away from the criminal justice system when appropriate. The goals are to increase safety for the police officers and individuals to increase long-term treatment and recovery for the individuals.

Officer Josh Bartholomew is working as the county’s CIT Coordinator to strengthen the CIT program in each Portage County police department. Bartholomew, an officer with the Streetsboro Police Department, has worked alongside of Sergeant Andy Suvada who has been a leader in Portage’s CIT program. Kent State University Police Officer Jeff Futo who has been instrumental in the formation of Portage County’s CIT is advising on this project.

Bartholomew will update and revise existing mental health policies for police departments to better align with local CIT program practices and goals. He and Gina Greenhalgh, CIT Coordinator Assistant, will work with each department on their data collection, reporting and analysis.

“We appreciate the opportunity given to us by the Coordinating Centers of Excellence to expand our CIT program,” commented Mental Health & Recovery Board Executive Director Dr. John Garrity. “Now more than ever, it is important to solidify the relationships between the police, the community, and the behavioral health system.”

For more information on CIT in Portage County, visit www.mental-health-recovery.org.

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