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April 8, 2014

Group: Bassett closure poses problems


The April presentation is a follow-up to the Crisis Intervention Training program in November sponsored by Tri County Forensic Services of Rehabilitation Support Services and NAMI of Otsego County. Forty participants from law enforcement agencies and other groups in Otsego, Chenango, Delaware and Schoharie counties attended the training.

Howard said Lt. Douglas Brenner of Oneonta police has been a “great liaison” between the department and the local mental health community.

Brenner has reported that police responded to 56 calls this year regarding mental health services, and of those cases, in 22 resulted transports to Bassett Medical Center. Last year, police had 225 such calls and took patients to Bassett 77 times, he said.

Last week, the American Psychiatric Association said that improving police responses to people with behavior disorders is of growing importance in the mental health community and the criminal justice system.

The association’s Psychiatric Services journal reported on a study of a crisis intervention team model, in which police officers received 40 hours of specialized training to become first responders to calls involving people with mental illness.

The CIT model, a collaboration among law enforcement, advocacy and mental health communities was developed in 1988 and has been implemented in about 2,700 police departments nationally, the APA media  release said, and the study reported the training was effective.

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