The Escambia County Corrections Department hosted the Northwest Florida Crisis Intervention Team Specialized Training Seminar March 13-17, recognizing 25 participants with a graduation ceremony Friday, March 17.
The 40-hour training program is recognized and used throughout the country, emphasizing a partnership between law enforcement, the mental health and substance abuse treatment systems, mental health advocacy groups and consumers of mental health services and their families. CIT is designed for first responders who handle crisis calls involving people with mental illnesses, including those with co-occurring substance use disorders.
Escambia County Corrections Director Tamyra Jarvis and Jail Division Commander Selina Barnes welcomed the 25 participants chosen for Specialized Training Class 34, and the graduates were each recognized Friday with a certificate and CIT pin. The following employees from
Escambia County participated:
Escambia County Jail Division:
- Brock Brown
- Kurtis Clark
- John Cross
- Heather Gresham
- Joshua Heimowitz
- Timothy Rusha
- Christopher Smith
- Lt. Karl Summerlin
- Sgt. Louis Yost
Escambia County Fire Rescue:
Throughout the week, participants had the opportunity to hear from instructors from the law enforcement community along with mental health professionals. Certified CIT Mental Health Coordinator Mary Carter from Lakeview Center Inc. was the facilitator for the training, which also included tours of the West Florida Community Care Center in Milton, Lakeview's Acute Stabilization Unit and the Baptist Behavioral Unit. CIT participants learned crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques through role play, also getting an opportunity to hear powerful stories from those in the community who suffer from mental illness or who have family members with mental illnesses.
Northwest Florida CIT has held 33 training classes with 807 graduates since it began in 2006, spearheaded by Lakeview Center Inc. CIT’s mission is to provide a safe environment for persons with mental illness by partnering with agencies and systems within the community. These actions facilitate growth, strength and stability in the lives of persons with mental illness, carried out through education, communication and cooperation from those who serve the citizens of the community.
Participating agencies for Specialized Training Class 34 included the Escambia County Corrections Department, Escambia County Jail staff, Escambia County Fire Rescue, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Pensacola Police Department, Gulf Breeze Police Department and Mobile County Metro Jail.