Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $250,000)
Pima County will implement the Southern Arizona Crisis Intervention Team Training Project to expand, professionalize and transform a well-established inter-agency initiative with a 20-year history. The new CIT will conduct self-assessment activities, develop new curriculum components, and train new and existing trainers to achieve Regional CIT certification. The enhanced program will focus on best practices to address and prevent disparate outcomes of law enforcement encounters based on race, ethnicity, experiences of homelessness, mental health disorders, developmental disabilities and substance use disorders.
Curriculum upgrades will draw from the Crisis Response and Intervention Training (CRIT) program while maintaining aspects of the CIT Memphis model program. A train-the trainer approach will be used to expand the capacity and frequency of the training sessions. To reach rural areas, Pima County will make supplemental resources, coursework/guidebook, and virtual materials available online. The team will develop refresher and advanced courses for officers that have already completed CIT training. The primary outcome will be a cadre of officers throughout Southern Arizona prepared to respond to, and de-escalate, calls for service that involve people with issues with mental illness or substance use disorders. The initiative will impact Pima, Santa Cruz, Cochise, and Pinal Counties, and the cities of Tucson, Sierra Vista, Casa Grande, and Nogales. Adjoining tribal nations are the Tohono O’odham Nation, Gila River Indian Community and Pascua Yaqui Tribe.
Pima County will be meeting the program-specific priority area by revising the CIT training to include an emphasis on bias and how it factors into crisis situations and encounters with people with behavioral disorders, trauma history and disabilities. Pima County’s model will also include a focus on specialized training for working with specific populations. A specific population that Pima County will address is Native American Tribal entities by ensuring the trainings are culturally competent for first responders working both on and off our tribal lands.
The lead applicant for the project is Pima County Department of Justice Services (DJS) in partnership with Pima County Sherriff’s Department, Pima County Attorney’s Office, and Tucson Police Department (TPD). The training target population is law enforcement officers, with 125 to be trained annually for a total of 375. The Tucson metro has a population of 542,000 people, 38% of whom are Hispanic, 3% African American, and 8% Native American. The applicant is not a previous recipient of Crisis Response Intervention Training grant funds. There are no subcontractors included in the project.