Poughkeepsie to use grant money for crisis intervention training


POUGHKEEPSIE – Now that Dutchess County has committed to funding a new Justice and Transition Center, replacing the old county jail, officials in the City of Poughkeepsie are looking at incorporating some innovative procedures on their level. 
Crisis intervention training, or CIT, will be offered to up to a quarter of the city’s police force. 
Mayor Robert Rolison, a former Town of Poughkeepsie police officer, endorsed the concept, noting he was trained as a crisis negotiator.  He and another officer were approached in 2004 to develop a CIT program.
“The interaction that police officers have with people who are dealing with mental illness is not always necessarily a criminal nature; they are not necessarily going to jail,” Rolison said.  “They are having an episode.  They are not taking their meds.  And what has happened, obviously, is that police officers, without having some of this special training, would have to be in positions that were very dangerous for both them and the person they were dealing with.”
Council member Lorraine Johnson wanted to know how comprehensive the training would be and how it fits in with what the county is doing.   
“Once these mentally ill go to this jailhouse, you need staff in there that is trained to know how to deal with them, and is that going to be included in the training?” Johnson asked.
Rolison said this training is a trend statewide.  One goal is to divert people on the edge from ending up in jail. 
This comes at no cost to the city. County grant money will fund it.
The council approved a resolution accepting $286,000 covering both the CIT and an unrelated measure to develop a fiscal improvement plan to prepare the city for a review of its financial position by the State Financial Restructuring Board.   

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