Many Belgrade Police Department Officers are also members of the Gallatin County Crisis Intervention Team after having graduated from a Crisis Intervention Team Academy.
The magnitude of the problem of untreated mental illness is revealed not only in the numbers, but also in the consequences. More than one million people with schizophrenia and manic-depressive illness are not being treated on any given day. These individuals are more likely to experience homelessness, suicide, incarceration, victimization, and violence. For years, the law enforcement community has borne the brunt of this crisis with its officers responding to individuals who become psychotic and sometimes dangerous.
The Gallatin County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is an innovative police based first responder program based on what has become nationally known as the "Memphis Model" of pre-arrest jail diversion for those in a mental illness crisis. This program provides law enforcement based crisis intervention training for helping those individuals with mental illness. Involvement in CIT is voluntary and based in the patrol division of the police department. In addition, CIT works in partnership with those in mental health care to provide a system of services that is friendly to the individuals with mental illness, family members, and the police officers.
Outcome research has shown CIT to be effective in developing positive perceptions and increased confidence among police officers; providing very efficient crisis response times; increasing jail diversion among those with mental illness; improving the likelihood of treatment continuity with community based providers; and impacting psychiatric symptomatology for those suffering from a serious mental illness as well as substance abuse disorders. This was all accomplished while significantly decreasing police officer injury rates.