Police crisis intervention team

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A police crisis intervention team (CIT) is a program in the United States to help police officers react appropriately to situations involving mental illness, developmental disability or emotionally disturbed persons.

According to Maj. Sam Cochran:

Communities large and small are seeking answers to managing crisis issues and crisis services. When changes are mandated, community collaborations and partnerships are the key. Advocates have long asserted that law enforcement personnel do not receive adequate mental health training, resulting in ineffective and sometimes fatal encounters or outcomes. In 1988, Memphis introduced the first crisis intervention team as a component to the community’s demand for safer, first responder crisis services.

CIT partnerships led to changes in existing systems and stimulated the development of new infrastructures for services. Suicide attempts and mental health crisis concerns are recognized as a priority. Crises are about people, about our community, our families, our friends, and our loved ones. CIT is founded on principles of dignity, understanding, kindness, hope and dedication.[1]


In the state of Oregon, CIT programs were implemented after the death of James Chasse, who was beaten and repeatedly tased by three Portland police officers in 2006.[2] Chasse, who suffered from schizophrenia, sustained 16 broken ribs, a broken shoulder and sternum, and major internal injuries. He was taken to the city jail, where the medical staff refused to admit him and ordered that he be taken to a hospital. But he died en route. The three officers were never indicted for their part in his death. Medics later testified that his broken ribs were most likely due to the emergency trauma care (CPR) he received.[citation needed]

Chasse's death prompted an outcry in the news media, in response to which Portland mayor Tom Potter instituted a CIT program. Other cities and counties in Oregon followed suit.[citation needed]


Starting in late 2011, a group of Texas CIT officers met in Austin, Texas, to lay the foundation for Texas' first CIT Officer's Association. The association's goal is to promote mental health education as it pertains to law enforcement's interaction and care for the mentally ill. The association will also host an annual conference where stakeholders can discuss new options for better practices in the field. The Association launched its website in 2012. [3]


  1. ^ "Strategic Plan 2016". CIT International: Crisis Intervention Team. Archived from the original on 28 October 2016. 
  2. ^ Demsky, Ian (2006-11-01). "Why Did James Chasse Jr. Die?". Willamette Week. Archived from the original on 2016-11-01. Retrieved 2008-03-18. 
  3. ^ "Texas CIT Officer's Association Website". Retrieved 2012-02-03. 

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