Law and Public Safety

Law and Public Safety

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is CIT?

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, developed in Memphis TN, provides a model of specialized law enforcement expertise. Volunteer officers, based in the general patrol division, work in cooperation with the mental health system, consumers, and families. Trained CIT Police officers carry on the normal duties of law enforcement, but switch to a specialist role when a potential mental health-related crisis is identified.

CIT focuses on de-escalation strategies, and redirecting the individual from the criminal justice system to the mental health care system. In turn, the mental health care system assumes "custody" of the individual, and provides directed and non-restrictive accessibility to a full range of health care and social service options.

How Does CIT Work?

Selected/volunteer police officers take part in a 5-day, 40-hour training program. The program includes mental health and substance abuse experts, legal experts, consumer/family advocates, and experienced CIT officers. Once trained CIT officers are in place, high-risk crisis calls are directed to an on-duty CIT officer.

The CIT officer leads a police-based crisis intervention of generalist officers. The CIT officer, employing a de-escalation intervention strategy, may access BHR crisis services, or transport the individual to a partnered hospital emergency room.

The mental health system assumes "custody" and provides a "police-friendly" efficient turn around time for the officer to return to normal patrol duties.

What Is "More Than Just Training"?

Training is more than a "one-shot" deal. Several times a year, officers meet for debriefing meetings and in-service trainings to problem solve tactical issues, discuss different experiences and scenarios they have encountered, and participate in advanced training. This allows officers a chance to reinforce and sharpen their skills, address new problems, and build cohesiveness.

Why Does Our Community Need CIT?

Police are often the first to be called for a crisis situation involving persons with a mental illness. These crisis situations can and have involved officer and citizen injury or deaths in the St. Louis area.

CIT training significantly decreases injuries, death, and community dissent. In turn, persons with a mental illness are diverted to the mental health system and treatment rather than to jail or to return to the streets.

Citizens become more confident in reporting crisis situations and police officers are better prepared to respond safely to those situations. Crisis intervention shifts from lose-lose to win-win.

What are Known Outcomes of CIT? *

  • Increases officer/citizen safety
  • Decreases police liability and litigation
  • Extends officers' skills
  • Increases on-scene expertise
  • Reduces the time officers spend at hospital emergency departments
  • Increases officer/community confidence
  • Increases professionalism
  • Empowers officers to divert person(s) with a mental illness to treatment
  • Increases cooperation between criminal justice and mental health systems
  • Establishes responsibility and accountability
  • Decreases arrest rates
  • Reduces recidivism

* (See Steadman, Deane, Borum, & Morrisey, 1998; Steadman, Morrisey, Borum, & Deane, 1997)

Bottom Line

CIT: The best practice approach to law enforcement crisis response.


St. Louis County Police DepartmentCALEA Logo
7900 Forsyth Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63105

Emergency Calls: Call 911
Non-Emergency Reporting / General Information: (314) 889-2341
TDD: (314) 889-2345



Contacts

CIT Coordinating Council
Lieutenant Colonel Jon Belmar, Chairman
7900 Forsyth Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63105
Telephone: (314) 615-2551
Email: jbelmar@stlouisco.com

St. Louis Area CIT Police Coordinator
Sergeant Jeremy Romo
14847 Ladue Bluffs Crossing
St. Louis, MO 63017
For questions and comments:
Telephone:(314) 628-5509
Email: jfromo@stlouisco.com