Over the past few decades, the disproportionate involvement of persons with serious mental illnesses in the criminal justice system has captured the attention of advocates, policy makers, practitioners, and news media. While mental health budgets are being slashed, resources are being devoted to approaches intended to stem the flow of persons with serious mental illnesses in the criminal justice system. For those who do enter the system, the hope is to reduce future criminal justice entanglement through positive intervention.
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is designed to improve an officers’ ability to safely intervene, link individuals to mental health services, and divert them from the criminal justice system when appropriate. CIT programs enhance communication in the community and identify mental health resources for assisting families and individuals in crisis.
With the assistance of the Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor Linda Porter, Lake Forest Police have built a CIT program for Lake Forest from the ground up. The program was started to recognize and identify those consumers within the City who could benefit from the service. Working with the families, these CIT officers are often able to provide services instead of arrest. Officers who may come into contact with these individuals on a daily basis are made aware of any special circumstances or contact information that is available through the dispatch center. The individuals can be identified by name or address. This allows officers to have the information prior to arriving on scene and allows them the ability to contact a CIT officer, if needed.
With the help of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Lake Forest Police Department has promoted workshops providing support and education for those who have a child with mental illness and education and support for families who have adult relatives with mental illness. You can contact NAMI for more information on both programs at www.namiccns.org, 847-716-2252.
Special Needs Awareness Profile
Individuals, parents, guardians and caregivers can complete a Special Needs Awareness Profile which provides public safety personnel with important information about a special needs person when responding to a specific address. If you wish to participate in the program, please complete the Special Awareness Program Form, you can also contact Andersor@cityoflakeforest.com. You may also call the police non-emergency number, 847-234-2601, and ask for a CIT member.
Click here to read the article written for the Lake Forest Leader by Danielle Gensburg, who attended the 2016 kickoff meeting.