Crisis Intervention Training
(CIT): A Catalyst for Consumers and Cops
By Donald G. Turnbaugh, Chair, NAMI Florida Decriminalization Committee
reprinted by permission from The Catalyst, a publication of the Treatment Advocacy Center
"Sometimes, I'm afraid of you," were the words spoken by a consumer when greeting a deputy sheriff at an assisted living facility (ALF). "I'm afraid of you sometimes, too," was the deputy's response. This friendly exchange occurred when neither was afraid, nor in crisis, as on this day, both were participants in a discussion group consisting of persons with mental illness, case managers, and law enforcement officers, who were on all-day visits to various facilities ranging from day-treatment programs to ALF's. These visits, in March and August 1999, were part of Florida's first-ever 40-hour training courses entitled: Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for Law Enforcement Officers conducted in Pinellas County (Clearwater, Largo) and attended by 95 deputies and police officers from 15 agencies encompassing four counties in the Tampa Bay area. During the five consecutive days of specialized training, they are instructed how to professionally and properly deal with persons with mental illness in crisis.
What is the CIT course like?