What is CIT?
Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) include specially trained law enforcement officers. These officers are trained in tactics to effectively deal with a situation involving a person experiencing a mental health crisis.
A CIT Officer has successfully completed state authorized training, and passed required testing, to become certified as a Crisis Intervention Team Officer by the State of Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health.
Crisis Intervention Team Officers are volunteers from uniformed patrol divisions. These officers maintain their responsibilities as patrol officers, but become primary responding units to situations involving a person experiencing a mental health crisis.
A CIT Officer has received training in identifying characteristics of various mental disorders. Along with a newfound empathetic approach, officers of this program are trained to provide a safer intervention for the person experiencing a mental health crisis, their family members, the community, and the officers themselves.
This program is a statewide program that builds strong working partnerships between law enforcement agencies and the mental health resources they utilize. These partnerships bring law enforcement and mental health services together instead of working independently on mental health issues.
What are the Goals?
There are two major goals of the CIT Program.
First is to establish a cadre of CIT law enforcement officers within all Utah jurisdictions. The majority of the time when a person is experiencing a mental health crisis, law enforcement officers are the first to respond and are tasked with de-escalating the situation. Training regarding mental health issues has been minimal for law enforcement officers. Without training, officers may have difficulty understanding why a person in crisis reacts as they do. Training gives the officers knowledge and understanding to empathetically deal with a situation by utilizing de-escalating tactics and techniques.
The second goal is to establish a "system" that includes law enforcement as a "team member" of mental health care. Once the officer has a situation controlled, it is paramount that a proper disposition be utilized to benefit the consumer as well as the community. The "system" established by the CIT Program opens lines of communication with various agencies and resources. Instead of working independently, law enforcement teams with mental health resources to find more appropriate and long term solutions.