Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Program, often referred to as the Memphis Model, is an innovative police based crisis intervention model with community, health care and advocacy partnerships. Up to 40% of police work involves people in crisis and/or experiencing a mental illness yet most officers who respond to these calls lack any specialized training or knowledge in how to respond to these calls. In 1988 the CIT model emerged in Memphis Tennessee following a police shooting involving a mentally ill man. The CIT Program seeks to bridge the gap between police response and mental health care by forming a partnership with behavioral health professionals, consumers, their families and law enforcement. Although a primary goal of the program is to redirect individuals away from the criminal justice system and into emergency behavioral health facilities, there are many additional benefits. Some of the benefits of a CIT program include:
- Increased Safety for Officers and Citizens
- Serving as a Catalyst for Improved Access to Treatment
- Linkages to Long-term Treatment Opportunities
- Reduction in Incarcerations
- Collaboration between Community Organizations
- Professionalism and Community Confidence
- Decreased Litigation and Liability
The CIT course is developed around 5 central themes: Understanding Behavioral Health, Developing Empathy, Navigating Community Resources, De-escalation Skills and Practical Application. The 40 hours of training provides information on signs and symptoms of mental illnesses; mental health treatment; co-occurring disorders; legal issues and de-escalation techniques. The CIT curriculum also include content on developmental disabilities, older adult issues, trauma and excited delirium. Information is presented in didactic, experiential and practical skills/scenario based training formats. The training week includes panels of providers, family members and persons with mental illnesses as well as site visits to facilities in the community. Upon completion of the course, officers are better prepared to:
- Recognize when signs and symptoms represent a crisis situation
- Safely de-escalate individuals experiencing behavioral health crises
- Utilize community resources and diversion strategies to provide emergency assistance.
The forty hours course is taught by mental health professionals, justice system professionals, consumer and family advocates, and police trainers from the community.