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Crisis Intervention Teams

Crisis intervention teams (CITs) housed within police departments, sheriff’s offices, and other law enforcement entities represent an intersection of law enforcement and psychology to enable a proper law enforcement response to those with mental health needs who are in crisis or need assistance. A CIT typically comprises specially trained police officers and/or mental health professionals. This entry reviews the origins of CITs, the different ways these teams are organized and utilized, and the training of their members and, through a number of case examples, highlights what these teams are able to accomplish as compared with a more typical police response to those in a mental health crisis.


Origins of CITs began in the late 1980s in Memphis, TN, where the police department and a number of ...

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