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RPD plans to have 100 percent of officers CIT-certified within 2 years

RICHMOND, Va. – The Richmond Police Department has announced their plan to have 100 percent of their officers Crisis Intervention Training-certified within two years.

Known as CIT, the program consists of classroom instruction and practical exercises that teach officers how to better deal with people in the throes of a mental health crisis.

“So far, we have trained approximately two-thirds of our force and now we will complete the process by training the rest. In addition, we will CIT-train all incoming recruits starting with the next class,” said RPD Chief Alfred Durham.

“The CIT course covers a variety of issues that relate to people in crisis including substance abuse, mental illness, and suicide prevention. There are several segments to the course including lectures, discussions, and role-playing,” said a Richmond Police spokesperson. The training will be conducted in partnership with the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority.

Richmond Police said their plan is to add two additional CIT classes every year. That would increase the number of classes from four to six. Officials say the department will also increase class enrollment as needed.

“Being a police officer is challenging work, so it is critically important that our officers have the training and tools necessary to respond appropriately to any crisis they encounter,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “I applaud and appreciate the work of Chief Durham to set this plan in motion and move RPD to 100 percent CIT-certification.”

CBS 6 recently profiled two CIT-certified Richmond Police officers who were honored for saving a suicidal man from jumping off a bridge.