C.I.T. (Crisis Intervention Team)

The Crisis Intervention Team Program was developed in 1988 by the Memphis, Tennessee Police Department to respond to concerns of mentally ill citizens and their families. In 2000, after Barbara Schneider died, the Barbara Schneider Foundation was formed in Minneapolis, MN. The Barbara Schneider Foundation teamed up with the Minneapolis Police Department and adopted the CIT program.

The CIT program emphasizes immediate response by specially trained police officers, versus use of mental health personnel. However; CIT is not just about the training. It is about building relationships between law enforcement and the mental health community and working together to improve the effectiveness of the response to mental health 911 calls.

In 2002, Benson Police Chief Jim Crace attended one of Minneapolis PD’s 40 hour CIT courses, to explore the possibility of training his officers in CIT. Unfortunately, funding was limited and sending more officers to the training was not feasible at the time due to the budget constraints. The program was subsequently put on the back burner. With rising numbers of mental health calls in 2005 and 2006, the training became more essential. In 2006, the City of Benson experienced a 250% increase in Mental Health calls for service over 2005.

In October of 2006 Officers Hammerschmidt and Joyce attended the 40 hour CIT training in Woodbury Minnesota. Upon their return, Officers Hammerschmidt and Joyce advised that it would be beneficial to have more BPD officers trained in CIT. With this in mind, Chief Crace decided to host a class locally in order to get more of his officers trained in CIT at a reduced cost. After a great deal of collaboration and coordination, the training took place the first week of August 2007 in Benson. Twenty-one officers from throughout west central Minnesota attended the 40 hour course. Five additional officers from BPD also participated and graduated from the course; the department now has 7 officers certified in CIT.

The Benson Police Department’s goal is to provide the best service possible to our community. If you or someone you know would like to speak with one of our Crisis Intervention Officers, contact the police department and ask to speak with one of them.





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