Buffalo Police Officers Receiving Specialized Guidance, Instruction

On How to Respond to Calls Involving Clients with Mental Illness

To Prevent Injury, and Ultimately, Avoidable Hospitalizations


Crisis Services, a Behavioral Health partner of Millennium Collaborative Care, and Western New York’s most comprehensive crisis center, has launched the second session of training for the Buffalo Police Department in the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training model.

Added due to increased demand, the second session began Feb. 27 for approximately 30 officers from Buffalo’s A (GREEN) and C (BLUE) Districts.

The training is being facilitated by Kristin Adduci, CIT Training Coordinator, Crisis Services.  Training includes 32 hours in the classroom, including role playing exercises, and a mobile unit “ride along.”

Millennium Collaborative Care (MCC), a Performing Provider System (PPS) under New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, is a training program supporter.



“Millennium Collaborative Care is supporting this training as part of our Community Crisis Stabilization project,” explained LaTonya Diggs, Behavioral Health Manager, Millennium Collaborative Care.

“This collaboration is intended to assist in expanding efforts to train officers serving in areas of the City where Millennium’s attributed Medicaid clients reside.”


“The CIT model is an international model used by law enforcement,” explained Jessica C. Pirro, LMSW, Chief Executive Officer, Crisis Services.

“The goal of this model is not only to benefit the law enforcement officer responding to a mental health call, but ultimately to have a better outcome for the person they are responding to.

“Some of the benefits of a trained CIT officer include reduction of force….and reduction of unnecessary presentations to the hospital,” Jessica continued.

“With this model, officers have tools to not only evaluate the situation when they are on the scene, but also to call in Crisis Services and our mobile team to see if there are ways to keep the person safely in the community and not have to go to the hospital.”

(For video comments from Jessica C. Pirro, LMSW, Chief Executive Officer, Crisis Services on the CIT training initiative, please visit the Millennium YouTube channel at )

The CIT program provides an avenue to collaborate with our colleagues in law enforcement who provide a humane response to individuals with mental illness,” said Michael Ranney, Commissioner of the Erie County Department of Mental Health, who is a staunch proponent of the CIT Program.

“These individuals are in need of proper treatment and supports versus unnecessary criminalization and incarceration. As more officers and police departments are trained in CIT, the opportunity for effective diversion and treatment will continue to grow.”

Marcy Rose, of the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness recently noted that “NAMI in Buffalo and Erie County is thrilled and grateful for the formation of Crisis Intervention Team trainings in the Buffalo area.”

“It has been our long-time hope that law enforcement and the mental health community will work together to improve the safety and well-being of police officers, mentally ill people, and neighborhoods, when a mental health related incident occurs,” she added.


According to Crisis Services, CIT programs are local initiatives designed to improve the way law enforcement and the community respond to individuals experiencing mental health crises.

The primary goal of CITs involves calming persons with mental illness who are in crisis and referring them to mental health care services, rather than incarcerating them.

This goal includes lessening injuries to officers, alleviating harm to the person in crisis, promoting decriminalization of individuals with mental illness, reducing the stigma associated with mental disorders, and using a team approach when responding to crises.

Training heightens compassion and communication, which are invaluable in developing CIT members.


Buffalo becomes the latest and largest local police district to train officers in the CIT model, joining police officers from Cheektowaga, Town of Tonawanda, City of Tonawanda, Amherst, Evans, State University Police at UB, Orchard Park, West Seneca, Lancaster, SPCA, Erie County Probation, Erie County Sheriff’s Department, NFTA, ECMC, NYS Police, Eden Police, and Kaleida Health.

“CIT trained officers are working in collaboration with our mobile outreach department every day, and the results we see are improved care and client satisfaction and a reduction in transports for psychiatric hospitalization at ECMC,” said   Kristin Adduci, Crisis Services’ CIT Training Coordinator, who has already seen clear results.

“CIT Officers are dedicated to improving the lives of mentally ill individuals in our community, and reducing the stigma of mental illness.”


Crisis Services, Western New York’s most comprehensive crisis center , provides immediate crisis intervention, assessment, counseling, linkage and follow-up services for individuals and families facing any and all types of crisis, including emergency mental needs, housing and homeless   issues, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, elder abuse and access to community-wide resources, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.



Crisis Services changing the way police officers respond to mental illness

WBFO 88.7

Crisis services training provided to some Buffalo police officers


Millennium Collaborative Care (MCC), is a Performing Provider System (PPS) under New York State’s Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) program, a statewide initiative championed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to fundamentally restructure the health care delivery system by reinvesting in the Medicaid program, with the primary goal of reducing avoidable hospital use by 25% over 5 years.

Supported by lead entity Erie County Medical Center (ECMC), Millennium is igniting healthcare change in Western New York, by partnering with physicians, healthcare providers and community-based organizations to implement 11 DSRIP programs specifically designed to positively impact Medicaid patients across Western New York’s eight counties (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagara, Orleans, Wyoming).

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The Erie County Medical Center Corporation (ECMCC) is the parent organization of Millennium Collaborative Care

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