CIT program helps Pueblo police respond to mental health needs on calls

Pueblo Police Chief Chris Noeller said he knew the Crisis Intervention Team, a partnership between Health Solutions and the Pueblo Police Department, was a success when he found that any officer in the department was willing to ride with a clinician.

The CIT program was started in 2016 in response to rising mental health calls, said Jason Chippeaux, CEO of Health Solutions.

“Our department tries to be very progressive in how we deal with issues within the community,” Noeller said.

“Former chief Troy Davenport saw an opportunity for us to bring in people who had skills we did not have, in order to help people in mental health crisis. We started seeing an increase in mental health calls around 2013-2014 and we were looking for ways to put us into a position to help individuals in ways we normally can’t as police officers —sending someone to jail is not necessarily what needs to happen if someone is in a mental health crisis.”

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