A national program designed to increase the capacity of law enforcement agencies to effectively create or enhance Crisis Intervention Teams (CITs).
CIT ASSIST is funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office), managed by the National Center for Policing Innovation with guidance from CIT International, and backed by a National Advisory Board of experts from law enforcement, mental health, and advocacy fields. Visit the Partners page to learn more.
The foundation of CIT ASSIST is a Community of Practice (CoP) made up of the agencies that apply for and receive COPS Office funding to improve responses to mental health crises. The CoP engages in a variety of learning and networking opportunities, and has access to resources and training to support implementation efforts.
Quarterly CoP Meetings
Annual In-person Workshop
Virtual Training Events
Members-only Resource Center
“I think sometimes we lose sight of the human side of an illness and we oftentimes identify the illness as the person – and that’s not the case.”
-Retired Memphis (TN) Police Major Sam Cochran
In the late 1980s, police and mental health leaders embarked on an initiative to support exactly the sort of police interaction described by Major Cochran. Their efforts resulted in the development of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model, an “innovative first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention training to help persons with mental disorders and/or addictions.”
Centered on community partnerships and an inclusive approach to problem-solving, the CIT model provides a framework for police and mental health providers, as well as individuals and families impacted by mental illness to work together in resolving crisis situations.
The CIT Model is credited with changing the paradigm of police response to mental illness. In 2014, research published by the National Library of Medicine concluded that “CIT training appears to increase the likelihood of referral or transport to mental health services and decrease the likelihood of arrest during encounters with individuals thought to have a behavioral disorder.”
How to Get Involved
Do you want to benefit from the variety of learning and networking opportunities offered to the CoP? Visit the COPS Office CIT Program website to review options and apply for funding to improve your community’s response to mental health crises.