Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops Q&A

The questions we didn’t have time to answer during the Q&A portion of our event have been answered by NAMI Wisconsin’s CIT/CIP Director, Helyn Luisi-Mills. If your question isn’t answered below, it may have been answered by Ernie or Joe. Feel free to watch both Q&A sessions here. If you have any follow-up questions, please send her an email at 

Where can I access Ernie & Joe: Crisis Cops?
The documentary is available on HBO Max. You can get a free trial if you don’t have a subscription. You can also watch Joe’s TEDx Talk “I See You” on YouTube and if you want to do your own showing, email 

Do Joe and Ernie believe it is helpful to have frequent and ongoing CIT trainings for police officers?
Yes, Joe started SolutionPoint+ to put on crisis intervention trainings, prioritizing behavioral and cultural change within law enforcement agencies. Ernie said he is also starting a training organization. Many departments and academies across the country are looking at ongoing training. CIT training is also provided for free by NAMI affiliates around the country, including Wisconsin. 

It was mentioned at the beginning of the video, that policed officers in training spend 60 hours in gun training and only 8 in mental health training.  It was said that this had to shift.  Do you feel that this has happened in police academies?
As the movie progressed, we learned that CIT is now required of all officers as well as during the academy. This increases mental health response training to 40 hours.  In the Q&A with Joe he expressed his desire to see it go to 120 hours. 

Is the mental health unit something you think could be successful in other states?
Absolutely, many states are already moving forward with this model.  

Did having a comprehensive mental health training program for officers in SAPD result in increase in total department budget? How much?
During the Q&A with Ernie we learned that the hospital system has taken on the costs of providing the needed equipment and staff for a pilot program. 

If you have additional questions about STRAC, please visit their website:  

How do you and your teammates deal with the personal stress and heartbreak in the case of those who do not get better?
We did not ask this question directly but during the movie both Ernie and Joe emphasize the importance of self-care. Ernie practices martial arts and Joe paints. 

Is there a trend in more communities wanting CIT and mental health training for their officers?
In Wisconsin there is increased interest in CIT training and each year more and more law enforcement officers are trained. 

Is this the same training as the Crisis Intervention Team Training that started in Tennessee? 
Yes, it is after the Memphis model. CIT is shown to be more effective if it is facilitated by law enforcement and optional to attend.  

Book Recommendations by Ernie
Surviving Schizophrenia by E Fuller Torrey MD
Out of the Shadows by E Fuller Torey MD 

Podcasts with Ernie & Joe (disclaimer: NAMI Wisconsin has not reviewed any of the following podcasts) 
Truly Mental by Joe Smarro & Jesse
Be Love Podcast (episode 81 with Joe Smarro)
Coping Convos (special guest Joe Smarro)
Roll Call Room (featuring Ernie Stevens)
The Saturday Night Synopsis (with guest Ernie Stevens) 

If you have any follow-up questions, please email NAMI Wisconsin’s CIT/CIP Director, Helyn Luisi-Mills, at