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Bergen County Crisis Intervention Team Program Becomes First in NJ to be Certified by CIT International

By kbm0423 on
Bergen County

Care Plus NJ, Inc. (“CarePlus NJ”) and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office (BCPO) announce the Bergen County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Program has received a silver-level certification from CIT International, Inc., a nonprofit organization focused on training and building community relationships to help law enforcement and mental health professionals respond to those experiencing a mental health crisis. 

Valid for three years, four certification levels are awarded based upon the degree to which a CIT program has implemented CIT best practices.

“We are thrilled that the Bergen County CIT program is the first in New Jersey to be certified by CIT International,” said Edward Dobleman, CIT-NJ State Director. 

“Bergen County CIT’s silver-level status as an emerging program that has met many of the best practice criteria of CIT programming is a testament to its dedicated program coordinators, who have really set the bar for CIT-NJ and the 20 other countywide CIT programs in the state. 

I’d like to congratulate the Bergen County CIT program on this significant program milestone.”

An innovative and international model, the CIT program is a police-based crisis intervention training with community mental health and advocacy partnerships designed to educate first responder and law enforcement professionals on how to safely and compassionately deescalate and assist a person in a mental health crisis, diverting them to mental health treatment rather than to jail or back on the streets.

The goal of the CIT program is to engage stakeholders to provide a more effective response for those who experience a crisis, thus improving overall safety, increasing access to mental health services and transforming communities.

Bergen County CIT has been funded and supported by the BCPO since 2017. 

Each class is facilitated by law enforcement coordinators, Sgt. Sara Toro and Lt. Mike Devine from the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office and a mental health coordinator from CarePlus NJ, Amie Del Sordo. 

More than 15 various law enforcement, mental health, and service agencies provide instructors for the 40-hour class.

CarePlus NJ plays an instrumental role in the success of the program, spearheading the development and implementation of CIT trainings across Bergen County. 

To date, CarePlus NJ has offered 17, 40-hour CIT trainings in the county since 2016, with four trainings scheduled to take place in 2022. 

Since its inception, a total of 519 professionals have been trained, including 350 law enforcement officers and 169 mental health professionals, first responders, and civilians.

Beyond the 40-hour CIT training, the Bergen County CIT program also provided more than 500 individuals with additional trainings in specialized areas, including implicit bias, microaggressions, verbal judo, telecommunications, and autism response, as well as an eight-hour course for emergency telecommunicators. 

Other distinguishing aspects of the program include integrated substance use disorder treatment and mental health care services, as well as the use of peer specialists to help effectively engage individuals in crisis.

For additional information or to register for upcoming CIT trainings, contact AmieD@CarePlusNJ.org.