Law enforcement involvement in the emergency custody order (ECO) process has been reduced by 80 percent in the New River Valley, according to new data released by NRVCS’ Crisis Intervention Team (CIT).
According to the report, the average time law enforcement officials in the New River Valley typically spend on an ECO is slightly more than four hours. However, officers that utilize the Crisis Intervention Team Assessment Center (CITAC) are involved in the ECO process for an average of approximately 50 minutes.
“This benefits everyone involved in the process,” explained Patrick Halpern, CIT Program Coordinator for NRVCS. “Law enforcement are able to more quickly return to their community policing duties and it reduces the amount of time individuals must be in law enforcement custody during the civil commitment process.”
Halpern added that, by being in police custody for a shorter period of time, individuals are “afforded greater dignity and respect during the understandably difficult process of being evaluated for a mental health emergency.”
Expediting this process also means that NRVCS Emergency Services (ES) personnel can begin the triage and assessment process quicker, Halpern noted.
First opened on January 14, 2013, CITAC is staffed by both NRVCS ES personnel and LewisGale Hospital Montgomery Security Officers. The facility is open to local law enforcement daily from 9 a.m. – 1 a.m., providing a location for officers to take individuals in crisis and transfer custody to provide for immediate evaluation and triage in a therapeutic setting.
During 2014, a total of 434 individuals were provided service by NRVCS ES personnel at CITAC.
To learn more about the CIT program, click here.