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Crisis Intervention Teams

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 46 Issue: 6 Dated: June 1998 Pages: 93-96
T Lesce
Date Published
4 pages
Crisis intervention training programs for police officers in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Memphis, Tennessee, are described that focus on how to deal with mentally ill persons.
The Albuquerque Police Department trains crisis intervention team (CIT) officers who deal with various types of emotionally disturbed people when referrals or some type of support are more appropriate than criminal prosecution. The training program is a 40-hour course conducted by mental health professionals and is co-facilitated by police officers with extensive experience in crisis management. Course topics include specific mental illnesses, communication, crisis de-escalation, role playing, psychotropic drugs, legal aspects, alcohol and substance abuse, and other related issues. Training for members of the CIT in Memphis emphasizes responsibility and accountability and attempts to dispel misconceptions about mental illness. Candidates for the CIT program tend to have certain qualities that make them particularly suitable for the role, such as flexibility, idealism, empathy, calmness, creativity, and intuitiveness. Students learn mental illness classifications and are prepared to deal with persons who have varied mental disorders, and the program includes contact with mentally ill persons. The Memphis Police Department collaborates with the mental health community to promote referrals and care for mentally ill persons taken into custody. 1 photograph