Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Osceola County Crisis Intervention Team Program

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): FL

Jurisdiction(s): Corrections/Community Corrections

Grantee Agency: Osceola County Board of County Commissioners
Subgrantee Agency: Osceola County Corrections Department

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2013/61,275

About the Program:

Through Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, law enforcement officers learn how to better assist individuals with a mental illness while also providing better access to treatment services for these community members.

In Osceola County, Florida, a CIT training program has been offered since 2009 with the support of funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG). JAG funding supports training materials and travel expenses to an annual CIT conference to enhance the program.

CIT trainings are held two to three times a year with about 25 to 35 students in each class, according to Osceola County CIT Coordinator Leigh Ann Cuddy.

The goals of this training are to:

  • Improve interactions between law enforcement and persons with mental illness
  • Prevent inappropriate restraint, incarceration, and stigmatization of persons with mental illness
  • Reduce injury to officers, family members, and individuals in crisis
  • Link individuals with mental illness to appropriate treatment and resources in the community

The weeklong classes total 40 hours and are open to law enforcement, correctional personnel, and probation officers, among others. Since its founding, the Osceola County CIT training program has seen more than 450 law enforcement personnel complete the training.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

The most recent CIT training in Osceola County was held in December and many participants had positive feedback. Through a survey, Osceola County CIT officials received comments such as:

  • “I enjoyed this training. Very helpful in my day to day life as well as my job.” 
  • “Great class. Please keep it up!!!”
  • “The segment on autism really opened my eyes to a condition that hits home for me.”
  • “I found this training to be very interesting and I would encourage more officers to take advantage of this class.”
  • “I loved it all. All the information will be useful not only at work, but for everyday life.”

Additionally, Cuddy said involuntary admissions for mental health services in the county have increased by more than 200 percent over the last 10-15 years. This is a sign that more people are being connected to necessary services, in part due to the awareness of law enforcement officers.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Brenda Lorenzo
Grants Analyst


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