Sheriff’s deputies complete crisis intervention training

Training to help officers evaluate mental health crises, with aim of de-escalation

WAUKEGAN – Sheriff John Idleburg announced the milestone of 99% of Lake County sheriff’s deputies successfully completing the Crisis Intervention Team certification training program.

This is a significant increase from the 34% of sheriff’s deputies trained when Idleburg was sworn in as sheriff.

Those trained as CIT deputies during the weeklong certification program received specialized training to help them evaluate mental health crisis incidents stemming from a variety of mental health conditions, including excited delirium, schizophrenia, substance abuse related disorders, autism spectrum disorder, traumatic brain injury and PTSD. After conducting an initial assessment, sheriff’s deputies used the skills they learned to effectively communicate and use de-escalation techniques with those experiencing a crisis.

Those who successfully complete the training course receive a CIT certification and a deep understanding of the law-enforcement response to those in mental crisis. The overall design of the program is based on relationship building and problem-solving capabilities of first responders, mental health professionals and the community. Lake County sheriff’s deputies have used their CIT skills numerous times to properly interact with those in mental health crisis and provide the assistance needed versus the use of force.

“History has taught us that well-trained police officers who listen to and work closely with the community build both trust and credibility,” Idleburg said in a news release. “Upon taking office, it was clear we needed to do everything we could to ensure those who interact with the community have top-level training when it comes to mental health. Our training division has done a tremendous job getting our staff CIT certified and trained in de-escalation.”

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office continues to train employees who interact with the public in CIT. This includes correctional officers, telecommunicators, court security officers and civilian staff. The sheriff’s office has hosted hundreds of police officers from municipal agencies throughout Lake County in the CIT certification courses.

“CIT certification for law enforcement is a major priority, and we are already looking to the future to see what other innovative and dynamic programs we can implement,” Idleburg said. “My staff is currently researching the feasibility of transitioning our Crisis Outreach and Support Team to a proactive co-responder model. I anticipate being able to release additional information on this program in the weeks to come.”