Background of C.I.T.
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is a well-documented and successful model of improving interactions between law enforcement, mental health, community resources and people experiencing acute episodes of mental illness. The training is designed to educate and prepare law enforcement officers, the first responders, to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness. As first responders in these incidents it is essential that they understand how mental illness can alter a persons behaviors and perceptions. A trained CIT law enforcement officer is skilled at recognizing and de-escalating crisis situations involving people with acute episodes of mental illness, while bringing an element of understanding and compassion to an already difficult situation. The goal of CIT is to reduce the unnecessary restraint and incarceration of people with mental illness and to assist with securing appropriate treatment within the community based on resources available.
What it Takes
CIT requires more than training for law enforcement. It needs support from consumers, family members, linkage with resources in he community, support from local government (at all levels), medical community and most of all change. The way this issue has been handled in the past and currently is not working. The system is broken. The break goes from first contact right through incarceration. It is not just law enforcement; it is the mental health, legislature/legislation, court systems, lack of public awareness and education for consumers/family. Working together as a team to repair or build a bridge between all parties is the goal of CIT.