Jefferson County Regional Crisis Intervention Team

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What is a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)?

The lack of mental health crisis services across the U.S. has resulted in law enforcement officers serving as first responders to most crises. A Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is an innovative, community-based approach to improve the outcomes of these encounters. Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training is a jail diversion and de-escalation model of training for law enforcement during which officers gain a better understanding of the needs of individuals with mental illness, substance use disorders or intellectual/developmental disabilities. The idea is to divert them to treatment when this can be done at negligible risk to public safety.

CIT training emphasizes the principles of violence prevention, de-escalation, and community collaboration. The purpose of the training is to promote empathy and understanding while increasing effective communication with community members when they are in some of the most vulnerable phases of their life. The training is based on a widely utilized and innovative model of crisis intervention.

In over 2,700 communities nationwide, CIT programs create connections between law enforcement, mental health providers, hospital emergency services and individuals with mental illness and their families. Through collaborative community partnerships and intensive training, CIT improves communication, identifies mental health resources for those in crisis and ensures officer and community safety.

The Benefits of CIT

Not only can CIT programs bring community leaders together, they can also help keep people with mental illness out of jail and in treatment, on the road to recovery. That is because diversion programs like CIT reduce arrests of people with mental illness while simultaneously increasing the likelihood that individuals will receive mental health services. CIT programs also:

  • Give police officers more tools to do their job safely and effectively. Research shows that CIT is associated with improved officer attitude and knowledge about mental illness. In Memphis, for example, CIT resulted in an 80% reduction of officer injuries during mental health crisis calls.
  • Keep law enforcement’s focus on crime. Some communities have found that CIT has reduced the time officers spend responding to a mental health call. This puts officers back into the community more quickly.
  • Produce cost savings. It is difficult to estimate exactly how much diversion programs can save communities. But incarceration is costly compared to community-based treatment.

GPD set a goal of having 100 percent of our officers certified in CIT.

  • A department CIT Coordinator was appointed (police officer), who is also the Course Director for the Jefferson County Regional CIT.
  • In 2017, 49 percent of our officers were CIT certified. As of today, 91 percent of our officers are CIT certified. As continuing education and coaches classes become available through the regional CIT team, we consistently attend.
  • As a part of CALEA accreditation, we complete annual mental health refresher training. Between 2017 and 2020, officers received on average, 1-2 hours of instruction in this area.
  • 62 percent of our officers are also currently certified in Mental Health First Aid USA’s eight-hour course. Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues.
Learn More About Crisis Intervention Teams
CIT International
Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Programs | NAMI: National Alliance
 

Jefferson County Regional Crisis Intervention Team

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Golden Police Department Arvada Police Department Jefferson County Sheriff's Office Lakewood Police Department Wheat Ridge Police Department Jefferson Center NAMI Jeffco