Crisis Intervention Team, or CIT, officers are specially trained in working with individuals who are in psychiatric crisis. The Crisis Intervention Team model is used in some form by 2,700 jurisdictions nationwide, teaming police officers with mental health professionals. Police officers use their CIT training to assess and de-escalate confrontations when called to incidents involving psychologically troubled people. The program includes 40 hours of training for patrol officers on topics like maintaining a safety zone while assessing the situation and avoiding the temptation to immediately answer a crisis with force.
Encounters between the Police and individuals in psychiatric crisis - referred to as crisis interventions - occur with great frequency, and CIT Officers have been trained to recognize different mental health issues and to use techniques and resources to aid those citizens experiencing psychiatric crisis. By recognizing the challenges and realities of this fact, we can make our streets safer for people with mental illnesses and for the police officers who respond to their calls. CIT Officers help reduce injury to officers, family members, and individuals in crisis, and link individuals with mental illness to appropriate treatment and resources in the community.
Crisis Intervention Teams are vital to reversing the trend of criminalizing people in crisis and depriving them of the human rights that they deserve. Instead of being incarcerated, people in crisis need treatment, housing, respite, and support in order to recover and live to their potential.
Benefits of CIT
* Decrease in arrest rates and reported injuries for persons with mental illness.
* Officer injury rates during crisis events decline.
* Increased officer recognition.
* Under-served consumers are identified by officers and provided with care.
The CIT Program is a service to the community, so don’t be afraid to use it. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to call law enforcement for yourself or to intervene with a person experiencing a mental health crisis, it’s okay to request a CIT officer.
For more information on CIT, contact the Department of Public Safety at 816-436-3550.
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