Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $2,015,000)
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is a community partnership between the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPCSO) and Emergence Health Network (EHN), the official local mental health authority. Together, Sheriff's Office Deputy and EHN clinician respond to calls and provide assistance and resolution to any crisis or high-risk situation that may involve a citizen in a behavioral or mental health crisis. The EPCSO and EHN provide options for safer and more effective responses to dynamic law enforcement incidents involving persons in suspected mental health crisis and situations involving persons with a diagnosed or suspected mental illness and/or intellectual disability. As such, the CIT specialize in responding effectively to El Paso County’s mental health crisis situations, communicated through agency dispatch calls or while out on patrol. The project team was initiated by El Paso County and EHN in Spring 2021 with the intent to have the capability to deply 12 full time SO CIT Deputies and 12 EHN mental health professionals. The EPCSO and EHN believe the CIT program will continue to be a successful and innovative endeavor, as CIT team members are committed to promoting holistic solutions to assist individuals with mental health illness and/or substance abuse within El Paso County. Each CIT member is provided with intensive training and the necessary tools to take part in wide range of mental health crisis calls. The EPCSO considers this team a long-term option to provide mental health assistance to the community and hopes it will provide a valuable response option to those in the community who may be experiencing a mental health crisis, issues with addiction, and the everyday struggles that may come with homelessness.