Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) are a pre-booking jail diversion program designed to improve the outcomes of police interactions with people with mental illnesses.
The first CIT was established in Memphis in 1988 after the tragic shooting by a police officer of a man with a serious mental illness. This tragedy stimulated a collaboration between the police, the Memphis chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the University of Tennessee Medical School and the University of Memphis to improve police training and procedures in response to mental illness. The Memphis CIT program has achieved remarkable success, in large part because it has remained a true community partnership. Today, the so-called “Memphis Model” has been adopted by more than 2000 communities in more than 40 states, and is being implemented statewide in several states, including Maine, Connecticut, Ohio, Georgia, Florida, Utah, and Kentucky. To locate a CIT program near you, visit the University of Memphis website at: www.cit.memphis.edu/USA.htm.
CIT equips police officers to interact with individuals experiencing a psychiatric crisis, by:
CIT helps keep people with mental illnesses out of jail, and gets them into treatment.
CIT reduces officer injuries, SWAT team emergencies, and the amount of time officers spend on the disposition of mental disturbance calls.
CIT Works in Rural Communities: Many rural communities have created regional collaboratives for CIT. For example, successful rural CIT programs exist in the New River Valley in Virginia, and in Cambria County, Pennsylvania.
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