Posted on June 22, 2021
HARTFORD — House Republican Leader Vincent Candelora this week is applauding the expansion of a pilot program that sees law enforcement collaborate with mental health and addiction services professionals as well as community-based partners to provide in-crisis individuals with treatment options.
The expansion of Connection to Recovery through Intervention, Support and Initiating Services Initiative (CRISIS) was a priority for House Republicans in the 2021 legislative session and during the 2020 session, which was shortened over COVID concerns. The program was originally launched in 2017 by State Police Troop E in New London County with assistance from the state’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS.) Local police departments have access to the program’s Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) that provides advanced de-escalation tactics for calls related to mental health, overdose, and substance abuse-related incidents. Additionally, a DMHAS clinician is assigned to Troop E and responds to such calls while on duty.
“The crisis intervention training offered through this program helps create a safer environment for officers as well as the people they’re trying to help, and providing officers with the opportunity to generate referrals to CRISIS mental health professionals will get at-risk individuals into the treatment pipeline faster,” said Candelora (R-86), whose caucus introduced legislation this year to expand the program. “CRISIS is a proactive measure, and it presents real chances at saving lives. So far, it’s been very effective in not just helping those battling these significant concerns, but also bringing together law enforcement, mental health professionals and community action organizations.”
Between May 2017 and December 2020, more than 588 people were referred to a clinician through CRISIS.
The program expansion, to be enacted though the state budgetary process, will see CRISIS used next in the state’s northeast corner through State Police Troop D in Danielson. Lawmakers included $200,000 in the budget for the initiative. Additionally, a task force will be created to study the costs and benefits of expanding the program statewide. That panel must submit a report to the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee by the start of 2022.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the report from this task force, whose membership will include experts in the fields of both law enforcement and mental health and addiction as well as the first responder and health care communities, all fueled in part by information gleaned from experiences in the Troop E area,” Candelora said.