(Crisis Intervention Team)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.