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Police Training in Washington, D.C.

NAMI Backs Complaints Board Call for Crisis Intervention Team

September 7, 2006

Arlington, VA - The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the nation's largest grassroots organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with serious mental illnesses, and their families, has joined the District of Columbia's Police Complaints Board (PCB) in calling for a police crisis intervention team (CIT) to improve and strengthen police responses in situations involving individuals experiencing psychiatric crises in the District.

The CIT recommendation was made today by the PCB in a report to Mayor Anthony Williams, the City Council, and Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Chief Charles H. Ramsey. The MPD responds to approximately 500,000 calls annually, about seven percent of which involve individuals with mental illnesses.

Many jurisdictions around the country have established "Memphis model" CIT programs, including Baltimore and Montgomery County, Maryland, as well as Chicago, Houston, Miami, Minneapolis, Seattle and St. Louis

NAMI maintains aCIT Technical Assistance Resource Center, consulting with law enforcement officials nationwide.

"As the nation's capital, Washington D.C. should be a leader in instituting best practices that help ensure the safety of both police officers and people in distress," said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick.

"The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that the overall contribution of mental disorders to the total level of violence in society is exceptionally small," Fitzpatrick said. "When violence does occur, it is a sign that something has gone terribly wrong. CIT helps prevent tragedies before they occur. It represents a partnership in the community."

Read NAMI's CIT Fact Sheet.

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