Orland Park Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team Presents in Nation’s Capital

Orland Park Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team Presents in Nation’s Capital
Posted on 06/29/2017

The Orland Park Police Department debuted its Crisis Intervention Team in 2015 being one of the first law enforcement agencies in Chicago's south suburbs to train officers as certified crisis intervention officers.

On June 21, the department presented at the national convening hosted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Orland Park was invited because it has developed partnerships and is collaborating with local agencies through the One Mind Campaign. Orland Park's innovative agreement with Trinity Services, Inc. provides mental health services for referred individuals within 48 hours of making contact with police.

"Being invited to present at the national level is a great honor for the Orland Park Police Department," said Mayor Keith Pekau. "The department created a very proactive program to address issues that all communities are facing. It's very important for all agencies to work together and Orland Park has taken a leadership role on this front."

Orland Park was identified as a "Best Practice Team for the 2017 Best Practices Implementation Academy" because of its work with the One Mind Campaign. Nine police departments from across the country were invited to present in Washington, D.C.

Trustee Dan Calandriello, chair of the village's Public Safety Committee, said, "We are very proud of the Orland Park Police Department and its being on top of it when it comes to emerging trends. They knew that local law enforcement would be called on to respond to mental illness calls and took the initiative to make sure that Orland Park's police personnel were properly trained."

Calandriello added, "I commend Chief McCarthy, Deputy Chief Mitchell and police administration for their foresight with proactively addressing mental health issues. This program helps those in need rather than immediately arresting them. It gives them the long term guidance and support that they need."

The police department was one of three agencies in the nation invited to present to other municipalities and law enforcement agencies on the implementation of the One Mind Campaign. The cost for travel, food and accommodations were paid for by SAMHSA. According to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 72 law enforcement agencies throughout the country have committed to the pledge.

In its invitation to the Orland Park Police Department, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration wrote, "You have demonstrated that you have expertise, knowledge and capacity to implement a successful jurisdiction wide strategy to reduce the number of adults with mental and co-occurring substance use disorders in local jails."

The Orland Park Police Department joined the International Association of Chiefs of Police's "One Mind Campaign" in early 2017. This initiative was created to unite local communities, public safety organizations and mental health organizations so that the three become "of one mind."

One Mind Campaign's objective is to promote successful interactions between police officers and those with mental illness.

"Law enforcement officers around the world --- not just in the United States --- are being called to situations involving those suffering from mental illness," said Orland Park Police Chief Tim McCarthy. "Orland Park has always been proactive in its programs and the police department's commitment to the One Mind Campaign is another example of that."

Orland Park's nomination read, "Through the development of strong partnerships with Trinity, Palos Community and Silver Cross Hospitals as well as with the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, individuals have been diverted away from the criminal justice system and into mental health facilities that provide timely treatment options."

These include establishing a clearly defined and sustainable partnership with a community mental health organization. Participants must develop and implement a model policy to address police response to persons affected by mental illness.

"Our officers have received training that will better prepare and equip them to recognize signs of mental illness and to take the proper steps to deescalate situations involving people with mental illness," said Orland Park Deputy Police Chief Joe Mitchell. "It's an honor for our personnel to be invited to participate in the national best practices program."

Agencies must train and certify 100 percent of their sworn officers and selected non-sworn staff that includes dispatchers in mental health first aid training.

"We are excited to be invited to be a part of this national meeting," said Orland Park Police Sergeant Troy Siewert, the department's crisis intervention team coordinator. "We are very proud of the quality responses that we give to calls involving those affected by mental illness and we look forward to sharing what we do in Orland Park with law enforcement from across the country."

Mike Mecozzi, Trinity Services Director of Behavioral Health, stated, "It's an honor to partner with the Orland Park Police Department for the One Mind Campaign. Due to previous cuts in state funding, persons with mental illness have less access to treatment. This innovative program will ensure that persons with mental illness get the treatment they need, when they need it, in the setting they need it, so they can again flourish in their lives."

Orland Park has partnered with Trinity Services, Inc. to provide long term mental health services. The police department also works closely with Palos Community and Silver Cross Hospitals to ensure that those in mental crisis are provided with immediate care.