Crisis Intervention Team (C.I.T.)

About CIT in Alachua County.

As of this writing, over 1000 officers from the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Gainesville Police Department, 911 Dispatch Center, and UF Campus Police have received special training as C.I.T. (Crisis Intervention Team) first-responders for calls involving face-to-face complex issues with people that have a mental illness crisis. CIT officers also perform their regular duty assignment as patrol officers. The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is a community partnership working with mental health consumers and family members. Several of our own NAMI members are teachers in the CIT course. The goal is to set a standard of excellence for officers with respect to treatment of individuals with a mental illness.

C.I.T. training is a 40 hour course that involves classroom lectures, role-play scenarios, and site visits to mental health facilities. Lectures provide information on the spectrum of psychiatric disorders, medications, community resources, empathic communication, and the family perspective. Site visits to Meridian or Vista CSUs give CIT officers an opportunity to be familiar with the facilities, establish contacts, and interact with patients. Officers get a first hand account of how a person with a mental illness prefers to be treated by law enforcement. In the role-play scenarios of the course, officers demonstrate techniques to use when responding to a crisis situation.

Crisis Intervention Team (C.I.T.):

Help Instead of Handcuffs.

If family members need help in a crisis involving a severe mental illness, call 911 and specifically request a “C.I.T. Officer” to respond to your situation. You are not alone in doing this: the majority of NAMI members nationwide have required 911 help at some time.            

Click here to read our online guide on how to phone 911 and ask for CIT help in a mental illness crisis.

Program Benefits to Alachua County

Since the the CIT program began in Alachua county, the citizens and the criminal justice have experienced significant benefits of the program. Some of the benefits of the program are listed below.

  • Crisis response is immediate

  • Underserved consumers are identified by officers and provided with care

  • More consumers are given help at a crisis stabilization unit (Meridian or Vista) instead of going to jail

  • Officers are better trained and educated in verbal de-escalation techniques

  • Client violence and acting out has decreased

  • Arrests and use of force has decreased

  • Officer’s injuries during crisis events have declined

  • Officer recognition and appreciation by the community has increased

  • Less “victimless” crime arrests

  • Decrease in liability for health care issues in the jail

  • Cost saving to taxpayers

CIT Information National Websites