Loudoun County, VA (April 16, 2021)- The 50th session of Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) graduated on Friday reaching another milestone in the regionally and nationally recognized program. CIT helps prepare law enforcement officers, on patrol, in the Adult Detention Center (ADC), and emergency dispatchers to calmly and effectively communicate with citizens experiencing a behavioral crisis. The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) has trained over 700 personnel from the local, state, and federal level, as well as private organizations.
The training includes classroom instruction and role play exercises which enable law enforcement personnel to gain a better understanding of the experience of living with serious mental illnesses.
“The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office continues to be a leader in crisis intervention training in the region and has provided a valuable skill set that has assisted our staff in many instances to peacefully resolve potentially violent situations,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman.
The collaborative program joined the LCSO; Loudoun County Mental Health, Substance Abuse & Developmental Health Services (MHSADS); Friends of Loudoun Mental Health; the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Northern Virginia; and the Loudoun Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. The CIT program has also built community partnerships with the Arc of Loudoun, Boulder Crest Retreat, Inova Loudoun Hospital, Mobile Hope, the Regional Education Assessment Crisis Services Habilitation (REACH) Program, the Ryan Bartel Foundation, and the Virginia Department of Veterans and Family Services.
During the ceremony, Sheriff Chapman recognized Loudoun MHSADS for the success of the collaborative program and celebrated the completion of the agency’s 50th CIT session.
“We recognize the importance of the partnership with law enforcement, the criminal justice system and the community to promote successful outcomes for those experiencing a mental health crisis in our community. This program started as a training to assist with law enforcement and first responders has grown into a successful initiative in Loudoun County,” MHSADS Director Margaret Graham said.
In 2012, Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman had a heady goal of training 25% of sworn personnel in CIT after assessing the number of incidents involving mental illness in the county. In 2017, the LCSO exceeded that goal by having 100% of all uniformed patrol and corrections deputies with two or more years trained in CIT. The program requires two or more years of experience to participate in the training. In addition, 100 percent of all dispatchers and call takers in the Emergency Communications Center are also trained in CIT.
To accomplish this, Sheriff Chapman collaborated with Loudoun County MHSADS and a myriad of stakeholders to start the CIT program in October 2012. The program was expanded to include the Courts and Corrections Divisions in January 2015.
The class is taught by Loudoun certified CIT Sheriff’s Deputies and professionals from Loudoun MHSADS, and other experts within the field. During the week-long training, students are introduced to medical, social, psychological and legal aspects associated with mental illness.
In 2019, the LCSO partnered with MHSADS and held the first-ever three-day advanced CIT training in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The LCSO was also the first law enforcement agency in Virginia to hold a three-day Advanced Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for School Resource Officers. The advanced training focuses on residents with Intellectual and developmental disabilities, especially children.
The CIT program is designed to promote positive interactions between law enforcement and persons in crisis and reduce injuries to deputies and persons suffering from mental illness.
Special guests and dignitaries at today’s graduation ceremony included Delegate Wendy Gooditis (10th District), Delegate David LaRock (33rd District), Town of Leesburg Police Chief Greg Brown, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Chief David Huchler, Town of Middleburg Police Department Chief AJ Panebianco, and Assistant Chief James Williams of the Loudoun County Combined Fire and Rescue System.