Monday, June 30, 2008

The History of Crisis Intervention Teams

The June 2008 issue of Law Enforcement Technology features an interesting article on the history of Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT), pioneered by the Memphis Police Department.

Here are a few excerpts:

"The program builds a team of officers available to respond to calls that partner with families, mental health providers and individuals who are diagnosed with mental diseases. The Crisis Intervention Team, or CIT, preserves the individual's dignity, insures greater safety for both responding officers and the mentally ill person — called consumers — and reassures families."

"NAMI (Memphis) credits CIT with saving lives and preventing injuries, both for consumers and officers," [Major Sam] Cochran [of the Memphis Police Department] wrote in an opinion piece on the department's Web site. "Officer injury data has decreased by seven-fold since the program's inception. University of Tennessee studies have shown that the CIT program has resulted in a decrease in arrests rates for the mentally ill.

"Most importantly, CIT officers give consumers a sense of dignity. This dignity generates a new respect and outlook on the police and the mental health systems."

Read "Diffusing Crisis" in its entirety.

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