Crisis Intervention Team (C.I.T.) Courses

As an innovative program, the CIT model encourages communities, families, law enforcement officers, and mental health professionals to act as a compass for consumers of mental illness. An increase in illegal narcotic/alcohol abuse and the “de-institutionalization” of mentally ill citizens has caused many to become homeless and potentially more violent which increases the chances of involvement with law enforcement. This increases the possibility for excessive force complaints and the inevitable backlash from the community.

The Crisis Intervention Team (C.I.T.) program is a community partnership working with mental health consumers and family members. Our goal is to set a standard of excellence for our officers with respect to treatment of individuals with mental illness. This is done by establishing individual responsibility for each event and overall accountability for the results. They will be part of a specialized team which can respond to a crisis at any time and they will work with the community to resolve each situation in a manner that shows concern for the citizen’s well-being.

Traditional police methods, misinformation, and a lack of sensitivity cause fear and frustration for consumers and their families. Too often, officers respond to crisis calls where they felt at a disadvantage or were placed in a no-win situation.

A response to mentally ill crisis events must be immediate. The National Alliance on Mental Illness/Memphis and the Memphis Police Department agree that an “immediate response” is preferable to that of specialized mental health workers on call or a mobile crisis van response. By offering an immediate humane and calm approach, CIT officers reduce the likelihood of physical confrontations and enhance better patient care.

These are some of the benefits shown from CIT training:

Crisis response is immediate

Arrests and use of force has decreased
Underserved consumers are identified by officers and provided with care
Patient violence and use of restraints in the ER has decreased

Officers are better trained and educated in verbal de-escalation techniques
Officer’s injuries during crisis events have declined
Officer recognition and appreciation by the community has increased
Less “victimless” crime arrests
Decrease in liability for health care issues in the jail