Police Officer Testimony:
"CIT training did not just teach me an effective de-escalation tactic, it provided me with a new mindset that I value. It was confirmed the first time I used my skills to help a citizen who had become aggressive due to a PTSD flashback get psychiatric help, rather than incarceration."
What is a CIT?
Crisis Intervention Teams (CITs) are designed to reduce negative interactions between individuals with serious mental illness and law enforcement officers, including incidents of violence, and to divert individuals from punitive incarceration to appropriate medical treatment. CITs are formed through the collaboration of mental health providers, law enforcement agencies, family members of individuals with mental illnesses, and the individuals themselves. This coalition develops plans to address systems issues, including the best way to transfer someone from law enforcement custody to mental health treatment; and crisis intervention situations, including teaching law enforcement officers how to recognize and de-escalate a psychiatric crisis to prevent injury or death.
Since its development in 1988 in Memphis, CIT has been implemented by hundreds of communities across the country and statewide in several states. Studies show that CIT trained officers identify individuals who need psychiatric care and are 25% more likely to transport an individual to a psychiatric treatment facility than other officers. CIT training also reduces officer stigma and prejudice toward people with mental illness. Research also shows that police-based diversions in general and CIT in particular, significantly reduce arrests of people with serious mental illness. Individuals diverted through CIT and other programs receive more counseling, medication and other forms of treatment than individuals who are not diverted.
In short, CIT is a community partnership that allows individuals with mental illnesses' to be redirected from the Judicial System to the Health Care System. It is a more educated, understandable and safer approach to mental health crisis events. It provides law enforcement-based crisis training for officers assisting citizens with mental illness. Officers are part of a specialized team which can respond to a mental health crisis at any time. CIT is now used in over 400 Law Enforcement Agencies worldwide, including Australia, Israel, Canada, and Sweden.
If you have a family member or friend who is experiencing a mental health crisis call 911
For more information on What To Do when you call 911 click here
For more information on who the CIT is and how they work click here