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Press Release

HCSO Corrections Personnel Graduate Crisis Intervention Team Training


Hamilton County, TN – This afternoon, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office hosted a combined law enforcement agency Crisis Intervention Team training graduation at the West Annex.

In all, twenty-one personnel graduated the forty hour Crisis Intervention Team training that began earlier this week on Monday, July 16th.

This year’s graduation included Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Corrections Captain Byron Knight and Corrections Officer Tyler Holland.

This year’s graduation guest speaker was Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond. Also present for the ceremony were several members of the HCSO Command Staff.

The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is an innovative, proactive law enforcement-based approach to addressing issues surrounding the treatment of persons with mental health issues. It is a collaborative effort and partnership between law enforcement, the mental health community, consumers, and consumer advocates that trains and equips officers to respond effectively to individuals with mental illness (consumers).

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and the City of Chattanooga Police Department have committed jointly to offering CIT training to officers who volunteer for the 40-hour specialized training. The law enforcement-based training teaches officers how to take a more personal and educated approach with people who have mental health issues such as schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and lack of medication issues. A big part of this training is the officers’ use of verbal de-escalation. The training also consists of classroom instruction, site visits with mental health consumers, and role play.

The CIT program which the HCSO has adopted was developed in Memphis in 1988 and is known as the “Memphis Model.” Founders, Sam Cochran and Dr. Randy Dupont, developed the training to assist those individuals with mental illness and improve the safety of patrol officers, consumers, family members, and citizens within the community.

The CIT Curriculum is delivered over a 40-hour week of intensive training provided by volunteer mental health professionals, advocates, and CIT trained law enforcement officers. The training consists of classroom lectures, site visits with consumers leading discussions, and scenario based de-escalation skills training using role play exercises. The training is to ensure law enforcement awareness of mental health resources and to address attitudes and stigma regarding mental illness.

This year’s graduation included law enforcement personnel from nine law enforcement agencies and one private mental health facility.

Please offer HCSO Captain Byron Knight and Corrections Officer Tyler Holland your congratulations for completing this important and innovative training.

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Phone: (423) 209-7000