NewsMissoula County

Actions

Changes coming for Missoula Crisis Intervention Team

Missoula CIT
cit
Posted at 9:24 AM, Feb 04, 2022

MISSOULA - The Missoula Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is moving from under the umbrella of the Missoula Fire Department to the Missoula Police Department after seven years.

CIT program director Theresa Williams told MTN News they will be moving into the police building and will report directly to Missoula Police Chief Jaeson White.

The Crisis Intervention Team works to avoid criminal justice system involvement for people with behavioral health challenges.

Williams says the change will provide the team with more options while continuing and advancing training for officers who encounter people in a mental health crisis.

“I’m very excited about this next stage,” Williams stated in a news release. “Because it will help us get closer to achieving our CIT program goals, give us direct and consistent access to law enforcement and more access to the critical data we need to examine changes to the involvement of people with serious mental illnesses in the criminal justice system.”

The change, according to Williams, will bring more direct involvement by police department leadership and closer access to law enforcement data tracking and other operational functions.

cit

A news release states national studies have shown that CIT improves law enforcement officers’ knowledge about mental illness and reduces officer injuries during mental health calls, keeps law enforcement’s focus on crime and saves money.

Missoula’s program recently enlisted three graduate-level social work students to help connect people experiencing mental illness with services. The program also expanded to include a data analyst, who will work with stakeholders and providers to promote data-driven decisions.

“The CIT program has dramatically increased the communication among the Poverello Center, law enforcement and first responders,” said Poverello Center shelter manager Clair Bopp. “Because of CIT training, our agency is better equipped to communicate critical observations and articulate needs when a client is experiencing a mental health crisis, which promotes safety for all of those involved.”

Additional information about the Missoula Crisis Intervention Team can be found here: https://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/2782/About-CIT

- Mike Powers and Mark Thorsell contributed to this report.