Beginning Monday, January 22nd the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office will conduct the first of seven, 5 day, 40 hour, Crisis Intervention Team training sessions, with the last block being taught in October 2024.

Crisis Intervention Team training was developed to assist officers in recognizing individuals who may be experiencing a mental health crisis.  Law Enforcement officers often come into contact with citizens who may be experiencing a mental health breakdown or crisis.  This training equips and prepares personnel in law enforcement with the knowledge and understanding to be able to recognize when someone is in crisis.  During the training, officers learn how to determine if an individual needs emergency mental health treatment/assistance, rather than to be arrested and hauled off to jail.  When a person requires mental health assistance, the goal is to get them to a mental health professional as soon as possible.  The training also provides students with the understanding, know-how and skills to de-escalate situations when they seem to be going in the wrong direction. The ultimate goal is the safety and well-being of both the officer and person/s the officers are dealing with.

Cory Sutton, lead trainer for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will be the lead instructor for the first block which begins next week.  He will be assisted by CCSO new CIT instructors, Sergeant Jonathan Jennings and Deputy Erika Jaquez, who will both teach and oversee the training for the remaining six blocks.

Presently, approximately twenty-two (22) CCSO deputies have been through the CIT training, and the goal of Sheriff Chris West is to make sure the rest of his deputies become fully CIT certified through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health in calendar year 2024.

“There are clearly several immediate benefits to having my deputies certified with this training, including but not limited to: learning de-escalation techniques, reduced use of force incidents, decreased injuries to officers and fewer “victimless crime arrests,” said Chris West, Canadian County Sheriff.

While the training blocks were primarily arranged to accommodate Canadian County Sheriff’s Office personnel, limited seats are still available for other agencies.

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PHOTO: Sheriff Chris West & Undersheriff Kevin Ward pictured with current CCSO CIT certified personnel