Crisis Intervention Team
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health professionals, mental health consumers and family member advocates. CIT’s goal is to help persons with serious mental disorders access medical treatment rather than placing them in the criminal justice system for illness-related behaviors.
WHO WE ARE
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is an effective law enforcement training and response program designed for first responders who handle crisis calls involving people with a mental health condition.
The CIT training is designed to:
- Provide supportive measures and an “on-the job-tool” that can be used by law enforcement personnel to enhance and maintain officer, consumer, and public safety.
- Provide intervention strategies and alternatives to assist in directing individuals with mental illness to the appropriate healthcare systems during a crisis and reduce their involvement in the criminal justice system.
HOW WE WORK
Research shows that those with mental illness are many times more likely to encounter law enforcement. It is important for officers to be able to recognize the difference between the symptoms of a mental health crisis versus deliberate evasive or combative behavior. The officer’s degree of training will dictate his/her approach to, engagement of, and interaction with these individuals. The extra training CIT officers receive can help to facilitate the likelihood of positive incident resolution for both the officer and the individual in crisis, as well as any bystanders.
Law enforcement has traditionally been the first responder in any crisis situation, and no doubt this will continue to be the case. Over the years – and particularly in the past decade as traditional mental health institutions have shut down in favor of community placements – it has become obvious that special strategies are needed for individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. A community-based partnership has proven to be an effective way to provide the best services for those with a mental health condition. It is, indeed, an idea whose time has come.
FUTURE OF CRISIS INTERVENTION
Approximately 40% of persons suffering from serious mental illness will be arrested at least once during their lifetime. It is imperative that progressive law enforcement agencies find better ways to serve individuals suffering from a mental health crisis other than a jail cell.
The Huntsville Police Department (HPD) has a dedicated team of Crisis Intervention Officers who work tirelessly to build strong community partnerships and compassionately connect those affected by mental illness with resources and services. By working together with the families and caregivers of those who are suffering a mental health crisis, we can empower them with real-world solutions to change lives for the better.
Officers trained in the tenets of community-based policing enable us to build trust between the public and law enforcement, which is crucial to achieving a positive outcome in a crisis situation. It is our desire to help, not to punish.
CRISIS INTERVENTION GOALS
- End crisis using de-escalation techniques
- Less need for the use of lethal force
- Reduction in injuries to mental health consumers
- Reduction in officer injuries
- Reduction in emergency room recidivism
- Jail Diversion
- Reduction in civil litigation
- Improvements in community relations
BENEFITS OF CRISIS INTERVENTION
- Crisis Response is immediate
- Arrests and use of force decrease
- Officer injury rates during crisis events decline
- Under-served consumers are identified by officers and provided with care
- Officers are better trained and educated in verbal de-escalation techniques
- Decrease in liability for health care issues in the jail
- Cost savings
National Suicide Prevention Line
National Youth Crisis Hotline
WellStone Behavioral Health
Veterans Crisis Line
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