A year-long 5 On Your Side Investigation went beyond a Department of Justice report to reveal a training program that was never fully implemented.
But while the program failed to include outside community agencies and routine follow ups with mental health patients, the basic training has been valuable for many Cleveland police officers.
Cleveland police officer Dan Day underwent CIT training and said he relies on the skills almost every day.
“When you’re talking to somebody who’s hearing voices—they can’t comprehend what you’re saying,” said Day.
“It takes them a while to process what you’re telling them to do … You have to listen to them, ask them how you can help and make sure no one gets hurts in the process,” he added.
Day is one of more than 500 Cleveland police officers who have now been trained and said he realized he should undergo training after repeated visits to Cleveland homeless shelters.
Day said he saw “people not on their meds, needing help” and decided the training would be valuable in order to help him get patients to a hospital for help.
In one specific case, Day remembers helping an elderly woman who refused to come out of her home.
“We ended up talking to her for about 45 minutes,” said Day, “got EMS there, got her to the hospital and she’s now living in an assisted living center.”