U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Transdisciplinary crisis response training strategies to educate and prepare Suffolk County Police Officers to appropriately interact with people who have behavioral health conditions or disabilities

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Suffolk County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $150,000)

The applicant is the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) acting as an agent of the County of Suffolk.  SCPD is the 11th largest agency in the nation, with 2,403 sworn officers providing services to five western townships of Suffolk County which is located on the eastern end of Long Island in New York State (approximately 565 square miles) and specialized services to five additional eastern townships. Its population of responsibility (about 1.4 million) is diverse in its racial, ethnic, and economic makeup, and its public safety concerns are similar to those of other large jurisdictions in the U.S. Most recently the SCPD has been a recipient of Project Safe Neighborhood, (2017-GP-BX-0006, 2018-GP-BX-0078, 2019-GP-BX-0066, 2020-GP-BX-0087), Innovations in Community-Based Crime Reduction (2018-BJ-BX-0009), and Enhanced Collaborative Model Task Force to Combat Human Trafficking (2018-VT-BX-K086) funding.  We have never received Justice and Mental Health grant funding. Ensuring the public’s safety and well-being is paramount. Through this program, we seek to implement Crisis Response and Intervention Training and strategies to promote public safety and ensure SCPD officers’ have the skills to appropriately respond to calls involving engagement with individuals with behavioral health conditions, intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, or physical disabilities. SCPD prioritizes improving officers’ capabilities to approach precarious situations and appropriately interact with people who have behavior health conditions and disabilities by developing, enhancing and implementing victim-centered, trauma informed, collaborative sustainable approaches. The proposed project will focus on enhanced training to increase SCPD officers’ practice, skills and abilities by implementing enhanced NYS Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and best practices and response models such as Co-Responder, Behavioral Health Mobile Response, and by leveraging existing knowledge about community policing activities and proven strategies. The proposed training program will provide SCPD police officers with more effective communication skills and consistent practice that will improve muscle memory, increase public and officer safety and minimize use of force. Additionally, through this project we will develop a systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues. We will leverage existing relationships with advocacy groups, stakeholders, and agency leadership to perform a problem analysis using relevant data. The attached Suffolk County Police Reform & Reinvention Plan details strategies that align with strategies proposed to meet our goal of ensuring appropriate response to calls with individuals who have behavioral health conditions, intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, or physical disabilities.

Date Created: December 7, 2021