On Thursday, August 3, 600 citizens of DuPage and Kane Counties filled Goodwin Hall Auditorium at Benedictine University in Lisle. Representing over 40 churches and other nonprofit members of DuPage United and the Fox River Valley Initiative (FRVI), the enthusiastic group gathered at an assembly to demonstrate support for, among other things, Crisis Intervention Team training.
Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) are law enforcement officers trained to deal with offenders with a mental illness or drug impairment. Rick Lathrop from FRVI announced that DuPage County had waited 18 months for the Illinois Law Enforcement Standards Training Board to award provisional approval to begin offering its CIT curriculum.
Kane County’s CIT application was submitted July 31. Rodger Heaton, Illinois Director of Public Safety and Homeland Security, announced to the assembly his commitment to shorten the time to approve reports. When Lathrop shared that Kane County Sheriff Kramer’s budget included $40,000 for CIT training beginningin Septemberand askedwhether approval might be granted before then, Heaton responded, “How could we possibly miss a chance to use (someone else’s) $40,000?”
Lathrop also asked Heaton to work with both broad-based citizen groups to meet with the Governor and his staff to find alternatives to incarceration for those with mental illness. Heaton reported that the Governor has charged the Criminal Justice Commission to explore how to reduce the state’s prison population safely by 25%, adding, “Someone who wants to find ways to reduce the prison population should be highly motivated to meet with you. “