Three from Harford County were among the more than 1,200 people who attended a recent crisis intervention conference.
The Harford County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) attended advanced training Sept. 14 at the International Crisis Intervention Team Conference in Virginia Beach, Va.
More than 1,200 people attended. Officer Jeff Gilpin (Havre de Grace Police Department), Lt. Marc Junkerman (Harford County Sheriff's Office) and Shawn Dundon (Harford County/Sheppard Pratt Mobile Crisis) provided an emotionally riveting presentation on War Addiction: Understanding a Mind in Combat, helping the audience understand military life in the combat-riddled mountains of eastern Afghanistan. After prolonged combat exposure, soldiers can become physiologically and psychologically dependent on their environment and veterans struggle in a way that has grabbed the attention of mental health professionals worldwide.
The Harford County Crisis Intervention Team, established in 2008, was designed to partner with law enforcement, county government, mental health agencies and support groups to offer specialized support services to citizens with mental illness and for people in crisis.
Individually selected law enforcement officers are taught specialized techniques for recognizing and responding more safely and compassionately to people with serious mental illnesses, while also enhancing public safety and reducing officer injuries. More than 100 Harford County officers have been trained in crisis intervention since the program's inception.
CIT International is a non-profit membership organization whose primary purpose is to facilitate understanding, development and implementation of Crisis Intervention Team CIT programs throughout the United States and in other nations worldwide in order to promote and support collaborative efforts to create and sustain more effective interactions among law enforcement, mental health care providers, individuals with mental illness, their families and communities and also to reduce the stigma of mental illness.
For more information about CIT, contact the Harford County Department of Community Services at 410-638-3389 or the Harford County Sheriff's Office at 410-638-3860.