The jails need to be depopulated and the mentally ill screened out. There is an osmotic assimilation of criminality when you surround people that are mentally ill with criminals. They should be screened out before they end up in the jail by implementing a diversionary program to where both police and corrections officers are trained in CIT so you have two bites at the apple to identify these individuals. I think that’s critical.
I am convinced that CIT training can be implemented to 100 percent and there’s a way to do it economically. It’s called train the trainer courses. Previously trained deputies act as train the trainers providing the training to our own people building from within for free. That’s how you do it efficiently and it’s very rare when the right thing is the same as the economic thing. It would be great to see the State’s Attorney, the Sheriff’s Office, local police departments, people like NAMI, PADS, DuPage United, everybody working together as a cohesive team because doing it together will take care of the money the funding, but we need enough participants in place helping to get this done.
You can see why this is so important to me. The most important thing to me is my little boy and what I would want, hope and pray for is that if he ever comes across police response I would want a trained officer in CIT dealing with him because I want his symptoms identified. I would want him to be helped and treated. Not adjudicated. I’m not only asking for support for me. I’m asking for support for a new paradigm in law enforcement and I believe the CIT training is going to get us there. This is the catalyst that will start it all.
I believe that the entire paradigm of policing and public safety needs to change. I think we need to abandon the archaic practice of enforcement based policing and move to a community care-taking function as we move forward. Less traffic, more cops in neighborhoods helping the people making a difference. I believe that drug use is a huge problem. I see it every day on the street. I think what we need to do is start looking at things even in law enforcement as an intervention based model instead of an enforcement based model. It is the only way we’re going to solve the problems. We need to be close to families gaining trust then we’ll find out whom the drug dealers are. That’s where enforcement comes in. That’s what I strongly believe.