Kinston police officers, Lenoir County deputies graduate from crisis intervention training

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KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) — Twelve Kinston police officers and three deputies from the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office graduated from Crisis Intervention Training and were recognized on Friday.

CIT is used to respond to individuals with mental illness. The training course requires a 40-hour curriculum taught over five days. The graduation ceremony was held at noon at the Waller Building on the Lenoir Community College campus.

“This training really teaches them to go in and really talk to the person and see what’s going on and listen to them and figure out what’s going on with that person and how to best assist that individual,” said Theresa Edmondson, chief of Regulations and Compliance at Eastpointe, which provided the training.

The first CIT class started in 2008 and since then, Eastpointe has taught and trained about 1,500 law enforcement officers, as well as first responders. The training was held at LCC this past week.

Edmondson said that mental health professionals teach them how to respond to individuals with mental illness in the classroom, as well as through site visits. She also said a lot of these law enforcement officers were taught to act urgently when receiving calls of distress, but this training helps them to slow down and to really assess if an individual has a mental illness.

After this training, officers received a pin to wear on their lapel to show they are CIT trained. Edmonson said this will help notify other officers at a scene that they know how to handle cases of mental illness and can take charge.

Edmonson said at one of the courses she attended over the past week demonstrated how individuals who may have auditory hallucinations would respond when asked basic questions. The officers had earpieces that had different voices telling them information and were told to answer basic questions such as, “How old are you?” and “What’s your name?” This training allowed the officers to understand how confusing it can be for individuals with auditory hallucinations to respond to rapid-fire questions. 

Edmondson also said Eastpointe was delighted with Kinston and Lenoir County for showing an interest in CIT training. She says Eastpointe will continue to support the CIT training because they feel it is important for the members of their community with behavioral health care issues.

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