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. 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 goals of a local CIT program are:
- To improve safety during law enforcement encounters with people experiencing a mental health crisis, for everyone involved.
- To increase connections to effective and timely mental health services for people in mental health crisis.
- To use law enforcement strategically during crisis situations—such as when there is an imminent threat to safety or a criminal concern—and increase the role of mental health professionals, peer support specialists, and other community supports.
- To reduce the trauma that people experience during a mental health crisis and thus contribute to their long-term recovery.
Cabarrus County Sheriff's Office, Concord Police Department and Kannapolis Police Department are all working towards the goal of having 100% of law enforcement CIT trained. In partnership with the Mental Health Task Force, all three local law enforcement agencies are working to captured improved data on utilization skills and knowledge gained in CIT training in the field.