Crisis Intervention Specialists
The Crisis Intervention Specialist Unit (CIS) consists of personnel trained in crisis intervention with a Masters or Bachelor’s degree in behavioral science, and at least two years work experience dealing with persons with mental illness, substance abuse or with similar human-service needs. In addition, CIS assists deputies on calls involving domestic violence, juveniles, homeless persons, deaths, sex offenders, elder affairs, and victims of crime. Unit members provide compassionate field intervention, link services for appropriate placement, and coordinated follow-ups. Additionally, CIS personnel provide safety information to the law enforcement community regarding current mental health issues.
SERVICES PROVIDED BY CIS
CIS will assess current individual needs while identifying natural (i.e., family/friends) and professional community supports, when needed, providing referrals and links to community resources. The goal will be to return the individual to a “precrisis” level of functioning as soon as possible. Specific services provided by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office are:
- Seniors at Risk Assistance Program (SARA)
- Work in Lieu of Arrest Program (WILA)
- Extra Special Person (ESP): Bracelet identification program for persons with dementia or Alzheimer’s
HOW TO ACCESS SERVICES
While it is common for Sheriff’s Office deputies to be dispatched to a variety of calls, frequently these calls involve other than criminal activity such as mental health, elder affairs, and family issues. As the deputy assesses and clears the scene for safety, a request for CIS is made. Upon arrival and depending upon the nature of the scene, CIS may assume responsibility for the individual allowing the deputy to return to patrol duties.
In collaboration with community service providers such as Marion County Senior Services, Salvation Army, Interfaith, Department of Children & Families, local hospitals, therapists, and case managers, CIS links individuals to services while developing community partnerships.
The Crisis Intervention Specialist Unit has a commitment to the community that extends beyond its direct service to individuals in need. Specialists are available to conduct workshops, briefings, and other educational programs which typically focus on topics such as suicide, domestic abuse, sexual assaults, and personal safety.
A crisis involves a disruption of a person’s normal or stable state. It occurs “when a person faces an obstacle to important life goals that is, for a time, insurmountable through the utilization of his/her customary methods of problem solving” (Caplan, 1961). When in crisis, an individual usually manifests:
1. Emotional upset (anxiety, anger, shame);
2. Biophysical upset (insomnia, headache, upset stomach);
3. Cognitive disturbance (disruption in usual problem solving ability, memory loss);
4. Behavioral changes (anger, irritability, crying).