The purpose of this research was to examine the effectiveness of the Vancouver Police Department’s (VPD) Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) course in equipping police personnel with the knowledge and skills to effectively intervene with mental health consumers by encouraging non-violent, non-lethal crisis intervention and the minimal use of force. This study examined 83 (n=83) course evaluation questionnaires completed by the recipients of the CIT course at the VPD, statistical data from the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner (OPPC), and coroner’s and media reports of deaths involving the mentally ill that resulted from police encounters. The analysis of the feedback from the CIT course participants revealed their enhanced awareness and knowledge about mental illness as well as an increased confidence in the disposition of skills and techniques learned during the training. The OPCC statistical data indicated a reduced number of complaints filed against the VPD; however no definite conclusions could have been drawn from this data. The analysis of deaths of the mentally ill killed by VPD officers did not reveal a specific trend after the enactment of the CIT course. Results of the study highlighted the necessity for the adoption of the VPD’s CIT course model by all of the police departments in the province. Further recommendations for collaboration between law enforcement agencies in the province, mental health resources, and the implementation of various policies related to the CIT course were addressed.
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Thesis advisor: Verdun-Jones, Simon
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