Crisis Intervention Team Training (CIT)

Background

As stated on the National Alliance on Mental Illness website, "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 Model

The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is an innovative first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention with community, health care, and advocacy partnerships. The CIT Model was first developed in Memphis and has spread throughout the country. It is known as the “Memphis Model.” CIT provides law enforcement-based crisis intervention training for assisting those individuals with a mental illness, and improves the safety of patrol officers, consumers, family members, and citizens within the community.

Memphis Model

According to the University of Memphis CIT Center, "what emerged from this initial task force was the Memphis Police Department Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) that would become known in later years as the Memphis Model. The originators of CIT combined several insights that revolutionized how individuals with mental illness in crisis would be approached by police officers and effectively routed to appropriate mental health care facilities rather than jail.

The CIT pioneers envisioned a team of uniform patrol officers selected for specialized training in basic crisis intervention. The officers would be spread throughout the city on all shifts. These officers would perform the usual duties of uniform patrol officers but would be available for immediate dispatch to mental health crisis scenes. Arriving without delay, CIT officers would be able to de-escalate the crisis, decreasing the likelihood of violence and injury to patients, family members, neighbors and police officers. With assistance from other police officers, the CIT officer would assess the individual in crisis and make the decision whether or not to transport a patient for further evaluation. The receiving facility would offer a single point of entry with referrals to resources such as community mental health services, social services and Veteran's services."

Crisis intervention team Goals:

  1. Improve Officer and Consumer Safety
  2. Redirect Individuals with Mental Illness from the Judicial System to the Health Care System

National CIT Model

Due to the efforts of the Memphis police officers and Crisis Intervention Team, formed a network of over 2700 CIT sites throughout the nation. The success of CIT throughout the nation is a testimony to the grassroots support generated to help those struggling with mental illness and the leadership provided by those determined to make a difference in their community.

CIT Training Outline

In order for a CIT program to be successful, several critical core elements should be present. These core elements are central to the success of the program’s goals.

Ongoing Elements

Partnerships: Law Enforcement, Advocacy, Mental Health

  • Law Enforcement Community
  • Advocacy Community
  • Mental Health Community

Community Ownership: Planning, Implementation & Networking

  • Planning Groups
  • Implementation
  • Networking

Policies and Procedures

  • CIT Training
  • Law Enforcement Policies and Procedures
  • Mental Health Emergency Policies and Procedures

Operational Elements

CIT: Officer, Dispatcher, Coordinator

  • CIT Officer
  • Dispatch
  • CIT Law Enforcement Coordinator
  • Mental Health Coordinator
  • Advocacy Coordinator
  • Program Coordinator (Multi-jurisdictional)

Curriculum: CIT Training

  • Patrol Officer: 40-Hour Comprehensive Training
  • Dispatch Training

Mental Health Receiving Facility: Emergency Services

  • Specialized Mental Health Emergency Care

Sustaining Elements

Evaluation and Research

  • Program Evaluation Issues
  • Development Research Issues

In-Service Training

  • Extended and Advanced Training

Recognition and Honors

  • Examples

Outreach: Developing CIT in Other Communities

  • Outreach Efforts

CIT Benefits

Crisis Intervention training provides a lot of benefits to first responders and the communities that they serve. Examples of some of the benefits of CIT training are:

  • Reduced arrest of people with mental illness.
  • Improves officers attitude and knowledge about mental illness.
  • Increased likelihood that individuals will receive mental health services.
  • Provides police officers with more tools to do their job safely and effectively.
  • Allows law enforcement personnel to focus on crime.
  • Produces cost savings for police departments and their cities.
  • Reduction in officer injuries while responding to mental health crisis calls.

Additional CIT Resources:

  1. Police Crisis Intervention Training Handbook
  2. Training Police as Specialist in Family Crisis Intervention
  3. Crisis Intervention Team Training for Police Officers Responding to Mental Disturbance Calls
  4. Crisis intervention team training: Changes in knowledge, attitudes, and stigma related to schizophrenia
  5. Crisis intervention: A handbook for practice and research
  6. The community crisis response team training manual

Advantages of Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for Police Officers

Frequently Asked Questions

What does CIT stand for in law enforcement?

A Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is a police mental health collaborative program. The term CIT is often used to describe both a program and a training in law enforcement to help guide interactions between police officers and those living with a mental illness.

What is CIT training for law enforcement?

CIT training is an organizational and community intervention that involves changes in police and law enforcement procedures as well as collaboration with mental health providers and other community stakeholders. CIT provides law enforcement-based crisis intervention training for assisting those individuals with a mental illness, and improves the safety of patrol officers, consumers, family members, and citizens within the community.

What is the definition of crisis intervention?

The definition of crisis intervention is the methods used to offer immediate, short-term help to individuals who experience an event that produces emotional, mental, physical, and behavioral distress or problems.

What is the goal of CIT training?

CIT Training has two main goals:

  1. Improve Officer and Consumer Safety
  2. Redirect Individuals with Mental Illness from the Judicial System to the Health Care System

What is a police officer's role in crisis intervention?

Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) are specially trained police officers are called in to situations involving mental health crises by the responding officers at the scene.

How much does CIT training cost?

According to a recent study on the costs and savings associated with implementation of a police crisis intervention team, the overall costs associated with CIT per year were $2,430,128 ($146,079 for officer training, $1,768,536 for hospitalizations of patients brought in by CIT officers, $508,690 for emergency psychiatry evaluations, and $6823 for arrests).

The annual savings of the CIT were $3,455,025 ($1,148,400 in deferred hospitalizations, $2,296,800 in reduced inpatient referrals from jail, and $9825 in avoided bookings and jail time). The balance is $1,024,897 in annual cost savings.

Does CIT training save money?

In a recent study it was determined that the net financial effect of a CIT program is of modest benefit. The overall costs associated with CIT per year were over $2.4 million, but the annual savings of CIT was over $3.4 million.

What are the benefits of crisis intervention training?

Crisis Intervention training provides a lot of benefits to police officers and the communities that they serve. Examples of some of the benefits of CIT training are:

  • Reduced number of arrests for people with mental illness.
  • Provides police officers with more tools to do their job safely and effectively.
  • Produces cost savings for police departments and their cities.
  • And much more.

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