The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is a community partnership working with mental health consumers and family members. Our goal is to set a standard of excellence for our officers with respect to treatment of individuals with mental illness.
Officers will be part of a specialized team, which can respond to a crisis at any time and they will work with the community to resolve each situation in a manner that shows the utmost concern for the citizen’s well being.
The first Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program began in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1987, 27-year-old Joseph Dewayne Robinson was shot and killed during an incident with the Memphis Police Department. This shooting outraged the community. From this community crisis emerged a new way of doing business for both the police and the mental health community in Memphis. Based on a collaborative effort a design emerged to help police officers identify and deal with mentally ill people.
In 1988, the Memphis TN Police Department joined in partnership with the Memphis chapter of the Alliance for the Mentally Ill, mental health providers and two local Universities, the University of Memphis and University of Tennessee at Memphis in organizing, training and implementing a specialized unit. This unique and creative alliance was established for the purpose of developing a more intelligent, understandable, and safe approach to mental crisis events. Memphis Police Department in collaboration with these other entities created a training model, which is used across the United States today.
The CIT is made up of volunteer officers from the Patrol Services Division. CIT officers are called upon to respond to crisis calls that present officers face-to-face with complex issues relating to mental illness. CIT officers also perform their regular duty assignment as patrol officers.
CIT officers participate in 40 hours of specialized training, which was developed by mental health professionals and is endorsed by the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), family advocates, and mental health consumer groups. Due to the training, CIT officers can, with confidence, offer a more humane and calm approach to dealing with people suffering from mental illness.
The Crisis Intervention Team program is a community effort enjoining both the police and the community together for common goals of safety, understanding, and service to the mentally ill and their families
The CIT program provides an avenue for the development of community partnerships and the collaboration of working together for community interest of service and care.
CIT is about doing the right thing for the right reasons. CIT recognizes a special population that deserves special care, treatment, and service. CIT is not about fame, fortune, nor glory, but rather, one of honor and service.