The Development of CIT
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program was developed in 1988 in response to a tragic incident. In 1987, police officers in Memphis, Tennessee fatally shot a suicidal person who was cutting himself with a knife and who approached the officers while holding the knife. There was a public outcry after the shooting. This outcry caused the mayor to establish a task force comprised of representatives of the police department, the medical center at the University of Tennessee, the board of education, local mental health facilities, local citizens, and the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI). The task force created the CIT program in an attempt to prevent this type of tragedy from occurring in the future. The Memphis Police Department's program has become the model for law enforcement agencies across the nation.
Des Peres CIT
Patrol officers who become CIT officers attend a 40 hour school. Major topics of study include:
Recognition of mental illness
On-site visits to local mental health facilities
Crisis de-escalation skills
Defensive weapons training
Upon completion of the training, the officers return to their patrol assignments. When the department receives a call involving a person in a serious mental health crisis, the call is coded as a CIT call and dispatched to a CIT officer. CIT officers respond to routine calls when not responding to CIT calls.