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In this episode, host Sarah Crilley and cohost Brian Dunn sit down with Officer Kyle Willcox from the Fort Worth PD’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) to discuss the role of mental health officers in law enforcement.
Meet Officer Kyle Willcox
Is it really Officer Willcox
After we interviewed Officer Willcox, we think BOTH.
When you watch or listen to this episode, you will learn how Officer Willcox and Fort Worth Police Officers are real-life superheroes… Especially when they work together with mental health experts like Brian Dunn, LPC.
Officer Willcox is a Fort Worth Police Officer and a part of the CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) (website https://police.fortworthtexas.
Officer Willcox delves into the importance of de-escalating situations and getting ahead of mental health issues to prevent overcrowding in jails and protect the citizens of Fort Worth.
So how do they (CIT) de-escalate with mental health professionals?
Dynamics Between the Roles:
The CIT unit pairs mental health clinicians with police officers to provide support to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.
Officer Willcox describes the process of forming a partnership with clinicians and the benefits of having a licensed clinician on board.
Together, they work as a team to quickly assess the individual’s mental health needs and get them to a safe place where they can receive care.
“(As CIT) We don’t take individuals to jail, we’re going to take you to the hospital if need be, and we’re going to talk with you. We’re not here to take you to jail. We operate off a lot of rapport. So when it comes to dealing with some people, especially when they’re dealing with a mental health crisis, it is very imperative that we get kind of good cooperation with it and we de-escalate the best we can and we talk to them and get them the help they need because a lot of people present that they have no problems at all. They claim nothing is wrong with them, but there are some serious underlying factors. Some people will sit there and there’s gangrene on their leg and they lack any insight to know what’s actually going on with them. And we’re here to help, we encourage them to get that treated.”
Officer Willcox illustrates an example of a man sitting on the ground in pain,
WILLCOX “We got to get you some help.”
INJURED MAN ‘No, I’m fine. I’m good.’
WILLCOX “No, we got to go get some help. Let’s just go down, we’ll see a doctor, let’s get some antibiotics, let’s get something right, and let’s take care of you.”
Operating in a Gray Area:
The team’s work often involves delicate situations that require patient support and privacy. Officer Willcox explains that they are called to assist patrol officers who are dealing with everything from bridge jumpers to individuals struggling to cope with everyday life. They work to prevent suicide and homicide by providing individuals with access to the resources they need to get help.
CIT has many success stories. One such case involved a barricaded individual, and the team was able to negotiate a peaceful resolution, resulting in the individual’s safe surrender. Many of the success stories result from forming relationships with the individuals they help.
Officer Willcox’s passion for his work shines through in this interview, as he and the CIT team navigate the complexities of mental health and law enforcement. They offer a refreshing perspective on how to provide adequate care and support to individuals struggling with mental health issues, and the importance of crisis intervention as a proactive approach to preventing violence and promoting wellness.
Hashtags: #CIT #MentalHealthAwareness #Prevention #LawEnforcement #DeEscalation