In March 2018, the New Windsor Police Department established a Crisis Intervention Team. The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) involves specialized training for officers in dealing with individuals in crisis due to mental health issues, and also includes training in suicide intervention. The training is forty hours long, and is taught by police instructors and licensed mental health professionals from partner agencies. This training provides awareness on a variety of mental health disorders and conditions along with best practice communication strategies for each disorder. Crisis communication is stressed and officers are taught the value of empathy, active listening, and de-escalation. The training also includes scenario-based training where attendees can be evaluated on their performance during a simulated crisis situation.
The Crisis Intervention Team is intended to bring together the criminal justice system and mental health systems in order to better serve the community by reducing the risk of injury to officers and persons in crisis and also connecting them to necessary services and/or appropriate treatment. Currently all members of the patrol division have completed the NYS DCJS Crisis Intervention Officers Training. After completion of a “CIT” call, officers complete a “CIT Report” which is submitted to the CIT Coordinator, Sergeant Alexander Ragni. The report is reviewed and forwarded to our partners at the Orange County Department of Mental Health, the Orange County Crisis Call Center, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Access Supports for Living. Sgt. Ragni attends quarterly meetings in Goshen, NY where current trends are discussed and best practices are developed moving forward.
The New Windsor Police Department is continuously responding to mental health crisis calls. In 2022, there were 397 mental health crisis calls. In 2021, NWPD responded to 298 mental health crisis calls.
The New Windsor Police Department recently became the first and only police agency in Orange County to participate in New York’s Mobile Access Program (MAP) for use on mental health related calls.
Funded through the New York State Senate and in cooperation with the New York State Office of Mental Health, this program equips select NY Police Departments and local Mental Health clinicians with iPads to utilize Zoom type teleconference calls for mental healthcare purposes. The program provides another option for Police Officers to have when they require some assistance in evaluating a situation when someone is experiencing a mental health crisis. The 3 iPads we received use a HIPAA compliant teleconferencing software for mental health consultations. The primary goal of the MAP program is to increase police access to timely mental health consultations and evaluations which should result in less waiting for a mental health professional to respond to the scene, less transports by the police to the hospital and for better planning for follow-up care of the individual involved.