Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)
The Crisis Intervention Team is comprised of highly skilled and highly trained police officers who function as part of the regular police patrol, administrative and investigative divisions. These officers receive 40 hours of specialized training in psychiatric diagnosis, suicide intervention, substance abuse issues, de-escalation techniques, the role of the family in the care of a person with mental illness, legal training in mental health and substance abuse issues, and local resources for those in a mental health crisis. In addition to classroom instruction, officers-in-training also participate in nine hours of role playing exercises based on real-life scenarios and spend an entire day visiting mental health and substance abuse inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities where they have the opportunity to engage in one-on-one dialogue with mental health consumers.
The training is designed to educate and prepare police officers who come into contact with people with mental illnesses to recognize the signs and symptoms of these illnesses and to respond effectively and appropriately to individuals in crisis. Because police officers are often the first responders in these incidents, it is essential that they know how mental illnesses can alter people's behaviors and perceptions. The trained CIT Officer is skilled at de-escalating crises involving people with mental illness, while bringing an element of understanding and compassion to these difficult situations.
CIT has shown to positively impact on officer perceptions, decrease the need for higher levels of police interventions, decrease officer injuries, and re-direct those in crisis from the criminal justice to the health care system. The CIT Training is accredited by the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS).
For more information on CIT visit: Mental Health Association of the New River Valley, Inc