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Leading with Best Practices to Build Effective

Crisis Response Systems

CIT is all about understanding and improving your crisis response system. A crisis response system includes all the services and resources available to help a person experiencing a mental health crisis.

Focusing on the crisis response system is key because an effective crisis response can improve safety and reduce the number of people in the criminal justice system in the long term. When a crisis is resolved effectively, the individual is less likely to experience repeat crises. Over the long term, that leads to fewer encounters between officers and individuals with mental illness—improving safety for all.

Second, an important goal of CIT is to reduce the number of times that people spend interacting with police and increase connections to mental health services. This is only possible with a fully integrated crisis response system—so that mental health services can be the initial access point, whenever appropriate.

Finally, during a crisis response, CIT programs must work to reduce the trauma experienced by individuals in crisis. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Individual trauma results from an event, series of events, or set of circumstances experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful or life-threatening with lasting adverse effects on the individual’s functioning and mental, physical, social, emotional, or spiritual well-being.”

Building and Expanding Partnerships 

  • CIT Utah works with local stakeholders to build true crisis intervention teams that work for each area while adhering to best practices.

  • CIT team approach builds healthy collaborations of mental health professionals, members of law enforcement, and community members with lived mental health experiences based on trust.

  • CIT enables participants to work with more compassion and learn how to identify and navigate high-stake situations.

Leading with Experience 

  • The program's state administration is committed to making the CIT Utah program a nationally recognized best practice program.

  • CIT Utah has a Board of Directors that includes practiced leaders from behavioral health services, law enforcement services, criminal justice services, and advocacy. 

  • All CIT Regional Coordinators are members of an advisory council for the program's Board of Directors.

Benefits of the Team Approach

  • CIT team approach saves money, resources, and lives.

  • CIT team approach achieves better outcomes by partnering mental health specialists with law enforcement.​

  • CIT team approach delivers law enforcement officers who lead with deescalation, reduced use of force, and who understand clearly when to call in assistance.​

  • CIT team approach produces best outcomes when new recruits have some deescalation training.

CIT should be more than just training

A Crisis Intervention Team should be a true specialized team where CIT Officers receive regular trainings and conduct regular meetings, just as any other specialized team within law enforcement.  

CIT Utah is united with the CIT Memphis Center, CIT International, NAMI National, Department of Justice, the US Attorney's Office, and the national experts involved in CIT programs throughout the country that advocate for fidelity to the CIT Memphis model.

For experienced officers

New recruits are not ready for full CIT training. Data supports CIT training later in a law enforcement career, when the officer has more experience behind them. [LINK]

Some law enforcement agencies are hiring social workers. Data shows that when social workers and officers have the same boss, favorable outcomes are diminished. [LINK]

CIT Goals

CIT has the same goals it had when the first program started in Memphis in 1988. However, as the program has spread across the United States, there has been incredible innovation at the local level and coordination among national partners. Many CIT programs are part of a greater national mental health movement that emphasizes recovery and the need for more robust community mental health systems.

Goal one

To improve safety during law enforcement encounters with people experiencing a mental health crisis, for everyone involved.​​

Goal two

To increase connections to effective and timely mental health services for people in mental health crisis.

Goal three

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.

Goal four

To reduce the trauma that people experience during a mental health crisis and thus contribute to their long-term recovery.

©CIT UTAH, 299 S. MAIN ST., STE 1300 Salt Lake City, Utah   84111  | | (801) 535-4653

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