Saud Anwar

State Senator

Saud Anwar

Deputy President Pro Tempore

Working For You

April 25, 2023

State Senator Saud Anwar Joins Senate Passage of Bill Requiring Crisis Intervention Training, Collaboration Between Police And Social Workers

Today, State Senator Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor) joined the Senate’s passage of a bill that will require police officer training on strategies including crisis intervention and develop recommendations on how police officers and social workers may collaborate.

Senate Bill 972, “An Act Concerning Crisis Intervention Training For Police Officers And Collaboration Between Police Officers And Social Workers,” now heads to the House of Representatives.

“Our police officers work to protect and serve our communities, but every call they receive is vastly different,” said Sen. Anwar. “Individuals experiencing mental health issues may require special concern and consideration when they interact with police. Crisis intervention training can provide safer and meaningful advances in sensitive situations and social workers can provide additional insight and improve the results of a given call. I look forward to seeing this bill become law; I know it will have positive benefits for our state.”

Currently, each police training program given by the Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST), the State Police, or a police department must include POST-developed curricula for police officers on interacting with either people who have mental or physical disabilities or are deaf, hard of hearing, or deaf-blind. This bill will require POST to add crisis intervention strategies to training for police officers to use when interacting with people with mental illness in crisis.

Crisis Intervention Training will help reduce the risk of serious injuries during an interaction between officers and a person with mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the lack of mental health crisis services across the U.S. has resulted in law enforcement officers serving as first responders to most crises. A Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is an innovative, community-based approach to improve the outcomes of these encounters. CIT programs create connections between law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency services and individuals with mental illness and their families.

SB 972 will also work to build relationships between police officers and social workers. A list of recommendations on how police officers can collaborate with social workers will be determined. Police are often the first responders to individuals in distress and sometimes they are the only responders.

The most comprehensive police social work practice is found in Illinois and Wisconsin. Police social workers are employed within more than 35 police departments and provide a variety of services in response to domestic violence, elder abuse and mental health.

The Connecticut Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers submitted written testimony explaining the avenues social workers take when assisting those in crisis. The president wrote, “Social workers have extensive training in working with diverse populations, are problem solvers, experts in de-escalation. Through a “person-in-environment” approach, they can assist individuals and families to resolve societal problems. Social workers are aware of community resources and know how to access them. Social workers are advocates for clients in a way that creates trust and supportive relationships.”

Police officers are experts in addressing issues of law enforcement, social workers are experts in resolving social problems that bring individuals into encounters with the police.