Crisis Intervention Training
WHAT IS CIT???
Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) is 40 hours of specialized training for uniformed patrol Law Enforcement Officers in how to respond to calls concerning persons with mental illness in crisis.
THE NEED FOR CIT…
The well-intentioned closing of mental institutions of the 1960′s, with the promise that the funding for community treatment would follow never materialized. Consequently, Law Enforcement is now required to be the first-on-the-scene “care-giver” for persons with mental illness in crisis.
HOW CIT OPERATES…
The key to a truly successful program is that in addition to their regular service calls CIT trains officers to respond to all calls relating to persons with mental illness. This makes CIT cost effective within the overall context of police services. Since Law Enforcement is often the first response to come in contact with crisis events, it is important to have someone who can calm and contain the situation rather than exacerbate it. While this may temporarily take a unit from its usual patrol area that short-term loss pales in comparison to the time spent when a situation is poorly handled or escalates.
THE CIT COURSE:
The course is presented over 5-days in four phases of approximately 24 components totaling 40 hours.
Phase one provides in-depth coverage of the types, severity signs and symptoms of chronic mental illnesses, and the medications used to control the illness with their sometimes devastating side-effects.
Second, the officers spend a full-day visiting various local mental health facilities so that the officers and consumers (persons with mental illness) can interact one-on-one or in-group discussion when neither is in a crisis situation.
Next, the acting out of real-life situations either by role playing, videos or personal testimonials from experienced officers family members, and most importantly, persons with mental illness permits the critiquing and sharing of techniques to learn the most effective ones. Before the formal CIT course is completed, mental health professionals will participate in “ride-alongs” with experienced officers. This not only breaks down the barriers of misunderstanding between the two systems that may exist, but also demonstrates the theme that: CIT IS MORE THAN JUST TRAINING!
CIT IS FOR VOLUNTEERS…
Family members who care for a loved-one with a mental illness know it is an emotionally, physically and financially draining experience, Not everyone is up-to-the-task, and this is also true for CIT.
Volunteers from the mental health community donate their time and talent to develop and present CIT. Officers involved in CIT should be volunteers too.
It is just not for every officer! In some departments psychological testing is used to screen candidates. Others rely on interviews and a thorough review of the candidates’ performance and disciplinary records. Indications are that experienced senior officers who volunteer and are interested in CIT perform best.
HOW LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONDS TO BEHAVIOR INFLUENCES HOW SOCIETY VIEWS THAT BEHAVIOR