Law Enforcement Officers are frequently front-line responders to persons in crisis with a serious mental illness. In an effort to better prepare officers to respond to these individuals, a number of communities (more than 500 in the US) have developed a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program. These initiatives are modeled after the parent program which began in 1988 in Memphis, Tennessee.
The Carteret County Sheriff's Office Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is comprised of specially trained sheriff's office deputies, that provide crisis intervention assistance to the citizens of Carteret County. Our deputies promote collaboration between law enforcement and mental health professionals to provide progressive crisis intervention and effective crisis stabilization services to individuals in crisis. The CIT Program is designed to divert individuals from unnecessary arrests; divert individuals from unnecessary hospitalizations; provide timely crisis interventions and crisis stabilization services, and provide referrals and linkage to long-term community mental health services.
The Crisis Intervention Team offers assistance to those suffering from emotional and psychological issues and assists them in obtaining the appropriate social service available for their specific needs. The Crisis Intervention Team is also tasked with performing follow up checks when deemed necessary.
The Crisis Intervention Team is structured to help citizens by providing professional and immediate assistance in obtaining proper care and guidance, within the parameters of the law. Each member of the crisis team is licensed by the State of North Carolina, with specific training in mental health crisis intervention, first aid, and CPR. This service is offered to the citizens of Carteret County 24 hours a day. The Crisis Intervention Team also collaborates with surrounding law enforcement agencies and mental health professionals.
The Three Components of CIT Programs
- Intensive training - Sheriff deputies and other first responders receive up to 40 hours of training regarding mental illness, co-occurring disorders, and response strategies.
- Strong mental health partnerships – Sheriff and mobile crisis workers who respond to people in crisis seek viable options for linking individuals with mental health treatment in lieu of arrest.
- Significant mental health consumer and family involvement - Consumer and family advocates are integrally involved in the design and implementation of local CIT programs.
CIT Step by Step
- Family member or other person calls 911 for mental health crisis.
- Patrol Deputy dispatched; if a mental health crisis is identified a CIT officer is called to the scene.
- CIT Officer assesses situation utilizing verbal de-escalation and other learned skills then determines best course of action; if more extensive mental health assessment is needed Mobile Crisis can be called to the scene.
- Mental health consumer receives appropriate services - coordination with Criminal Justice System maintains accountability.