Durham EMS Assist Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is made up of law enforcement officers, EMS, and firefighters who have completed specialized training in mental illness and crisis intervention techniques. The CIT program, which was formed in 2007, is coordinated by the Durham Center and the Durham County National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Personnel that complete the CIT program have training in specialized areas including Suicide Risk Assessment and Intervention, Law Enforcement De-Escalation Techniques; Homeless Population and Mental Illness; Developmental Disabilities (including Autism) and Special Concerns with Adolescents.
The team's goal is to keep people with serious mental illness out of the criminal justice system for misdemeanor charges. People with mental illness are arrested more frequently and spend longer time in jail than the average citizen. Jails are not mental health institutions and are not properly equipped to handle this population. The team's mission is to give arresting officers more options when dealing with persons with mental illness. The preference would be to connect persons with serious mental illness to treatment rather than have them incarcerated.
The CIT Program:
- Is a partnership with mental health, consumer advocacy and law enforcement agencies.
- Provides 40 hours of specialized training to sworn law enforcement officers.
- Provides 8 hours of specialized training to EMS and fire personnel.
- Decreases the incidents of incarceration of persons with mental illness for misdemeanor charges.
- Connects persons in mental health crisis to appropriate mental health services rather than the criminal justice system.
- Decreases officer injury rates.
- Decreases use-of-force occurrences.
- Decreases consumer injury rates.
- Reduce abuse on prehospital and hospital services.
- Creates an earlier opportunity to engage consumers in mental health services.