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Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training is a training program developed in a number of U.S. states to help police officers react appropriately to situations involving mental illness or developmental disability.

Communities large and small are seeking answers to managing crisis issues and crisis intervention 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. Major Sam Cochran, Ret.


In the state of Oregon, CIT programs were implemented following the death of James Chasse, who was beaten and repeatedly tased by three Portland police officers.[1] Chasse, who suffered from schizophrenia, sustained sixteen broken ribs, a broken shoulder and sternum, and massive internal injuries. He was taken to the city jail, where medical staff refused to admit him and ordered that he be taken to a hospital. However, he died en route. The three officers were never indicted for their part in the incident. Medics later testified that his broken ribs were most likely due to the emergency trauma care (CPR) he received.

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


Bexar County, San Antonio

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office and San Antonio Police Department in partnership with the Center for Healthcare Services (the local mental health authority) began its CIT program in October 2003.

The first CIT class was conducted in 2003 at the San Antonio State Hospital. A team of Houston PD Officers led by Officer Frank Webb traveled from Houston to “train the trainers”. This was the initial impetus for CIT development in San Antonio.

The goal of our CIT effort is to provide more efficient service to the community when responding to calls where a mentally ill person is in crisis, and to ensure the safety of both the officer and mental health consumer. CIT Officers are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and the medications used to treat them. CIT Officers have developed a close partnership with the local mental health authority, the Center for Health Care Services, The University Hospital System, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, and the many public and private mental health providers in the City of San Antonio. Our community partnership has led to more effective service to persons with mental illness,, the diversion of mentally ill persons from jail to treatment, and a commitment from the community to build and fund a Crisis Care Center which will provide "24/7" medical and mental health care exclusively for law enforcement officers.

The Texas CIT Officer's Association:[2]

Starting in late 2011 a group of Texas CIT Officers met together in Austin Texas to lay the foundation for Texas' first CIT Officer's Association. The goal of the association will be to promote mental health education across the state as it pertains to law enforcement's interaction and care for the mentally ill. The association will also host an annual conference where stakeholders from across the state can come together and discuss new options for better practices "in the field."

Starting in 2012 the Texas CIT Officer's Association launched their website located at

See also[]


  1. Why Did James Chasse Jr. Die?. Willamette Week. URL accessed on 2008-03-18.
  2. Texas CIT Officer's Association Website. URL accessed on 2/3/2012.

External links[]

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