Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is an innovative first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention with community, behavioral healthcare, and advocacy partnerships. The CIT model was first developed in Memphis some twenty years ago and has spread throughout the country.
CIT is a jail diversion program designed to improve the outcomes of police interactions with individuals whose behavior is influenced by mental illness, substance use, mental retardation and related conditions. Officers learn to recognize psychiatric distress and other conditions and how to de-escalate a crisis — avoiding officer injuries, consumer deaths and tragedy for the community. In addition, CIT officers learn how to link people with appropriate treatment, which has a positive impact on fostering recovery and reducing recidivism.
Research has proven that CIT training reduces arrests, the use of restraint, citizen and police officer injuries, hospitalization, and vastly improves the safety and satisfaction of all involved.
The mission of the Bucks County CIT Task Force:
To promote collaboration between Bucks County Law Enforcement, Behavioral Health Organizations, Behavioral Health Advocates, and County Government, and to provide a forum for effective problem solving. To serve as a vehicle for consumer, family member and community input into the Bucks County CIT training process. To develop a CIT training program that will be incorporated into the programs of every Bucks County Law Enforcement agency.
The goals of the CIT program:
The overall goal of the CIT training program is to treat mental illness as a disease, not a crime.
- Law Enforcement:
- decreased number of injuries to the officers
- decreased use of force
- improved use of alternatives to arrest and jail
- decreased time officers spend in the crisis unit (involuntary commitments)
- reduced myths and stigma of mental illness among law enforcement
- improved relationships for officers and community
- Behavioral Health System:
- extended crisis response systems
- increased opportunity for earlier intervention
- improved treatment outcomes
- Consumers/Family Members:
- decreased number of injuries to the consumer
- better relationships between consumers and law enforcement officers
- removed stigma of unnecessary incarceration in local jails
- improved access to treatment
- increased chance that the consumer will receive continuous care
For more information on the Bucks County Crisis Intervention Team, please go to www.buckscit.org.