Crisis Intervention Team
The Crisis Intervention Team model originated in Memphis Tennessee in 1988 and began as partnerships between the Memphis Police Department, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental health professionals and advocates.
In 2010 the Centre County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) was established beginning with eight trained members, since then over 350 members have been trained. Trainings take place twice a year in January and June for law enforcement officers, sheriff's deputies, correction officers, probation/parole officers, 911 telecommunicators, mental health professionals, emergency medical services staff, and other related first responders. The 40-hour comprehensive training emphasizes mental health-related topics, crisis resolution skills and de-escalation training, and access to community-based services. All officers and emergency personnel register for the training on a voluntary basis. The format of the training consists of lectures, on-site visitation and exposure to several mental health facilities, intensive interactions with individuals with a mental illness, and scenario-based de-escalation skill training.
Goals of CIT
- To improve interactions between law enforcement and persons with mental illness
- To prevent the inappropriate restraint, incarceration, and stigmatization of persons with mental illness
- To reduce injury to officers, family members, and individuals in crisis, and
- To link individuals with mental illness to appropriate treatment and resources in the community.
It's Okay to ASK for a CIT Officer
The CIT Program is a service to our community, so don't be afraid to use it. Each Centre County law enforcement agency has a goal to have a CIT officer on duty during each shift. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to call law enforcement to intervene with a person experiencing a mental health crisis, it's okay to request a CIT officer.
How Can I Help?
How Family and Friends Can Assist CIT Officers When a Mental Health Crisis Occurs
Mental health crises are extremely stressful for all parties involved. Some preparation before the crisis and some common-sense actions when the CIT officer responds to a crisis will help your friend or loved-one get the care needed as soon as possible.
- Find out if CIT is part of your local police department.
- When calling for police assistance, ask for a CIT officer.
- Keep a current list of medications and doctors' names and offer it to the CIT officer when he/she arrives.
- Meet the CIT officer outside if possible and fully explain the crisis and what you would like to happen.
- Make the CIT officer(s) aware of anything you know that upsets the person in crisis.
- Keep all guns out of the home.
- When the CIT officer arrives, advise them if the person is armed or has access to weapons. Remember, when weapons are involved, police concentrate on the possible threat of violence until it is neutralized.
- Understand, the CIT officer(s) will probably ask you to wait in an area away from the person in a crisis. Let the officer do his job and only offer assistance if asked.
- Be prepared to go to the hospital -- but remember all CIT calls do not necessarily mean a trip to the hospital.
- Get to know your police department. Introduce your family member or friend to the police when they are not in crisis. Call your police department and have CIT officer stop by your house when he/she has time
- or go to the police station when a CIT officer will be there.
- Let your family member know the police are there to help.
- Educate yourself about your family member's or friend's mental illness by requesting information from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Central Pennsylvania.
For training information please contact:
Tracy A. Small
Centre County Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator
3147 Research Drive
State College, PA 16801
CIT Coordinator Email