The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) concept started in 1988 with the Memphis Police Department who formed partnerships with
the Memphis Chapter of the Alliance for the Mentally Ill (AMI), mental health providers, and two local universities (the University
of Memphis and the University of Tennessee) in organizing, training, and implementing a specialized unit. This alliance was
established for the purpose of developing a more intelligent, understandable, and safe approach to mental crisis events. The
Crisis Intervention Team program is a community effort bringing the police and the stakeholders together for the common goals
of safety, understanding, and service to the mentally ill and their families. According to the National Alliance on Mental
Illness (NAMI), one in five families are directly affected by severe mental illness, either having a family member or a friend
who is mentally ill.
The CIT model has been instrumental in offering:
- Specially trained officers to respond immediately to crisis calls
- Ongoing training of CIT officers
- Establishments of partnerships of police, National Alliance on Mental Illness, mental health providers, and mental health
Through the Colorado CIT program, particularly in Arapahoe and Douglas Counties, partnerships have been formed with public
and private service agencies, and health care providers in order to connect persons to both private and government services.
A few examples of those inter-agency working relationships are; Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, Arapahoe County Attorney, Arapahoe County Human Services, Aurora Mental Health, 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Metro area hospitals, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Arapahoe House, and the Colorado Association of Private Resource Agencies (CAPRA). CIT deputies carry contact information of these various
resources, and can make the appropriate referrals/connections and sometimes expedite their response.
Selected deputies are trained in CIT through a forty-hour federally funded, state administered, locally implemented course.
Instructors such as psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and attorneys volunteer their time to train officers to
intervene with persons who have mental illnesses/disabilities and who are in crisis. The objective of the Colorado CIT program
was to train approximately 25% of first responding police officers.
The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office has 46 percent of its Public Safety Bureau uniformed deputies trained and certified in
CIT. That figure includes the Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officers. CIT deputies are called upon to respond to crisis
calls that present them with complex issues relating to mental illness, co-occurring disorders, and developmental disabilities.
CIT contacts are referred to the Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network for follow up by its CIT Case Management Team. Out
of 112 referrals made by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office from December 2005 to March 2006, approximately 15% of those
are currently receiving treatment. CIT deputies also perform their regular duty assignment as patrol officers.
The Special Intervention Unit in the Detention/Administrative Services Bureau is staffed by CIT –trained deputies who work
with special needs inmates. A Mental Health Coordinator at the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office Detention Center connects
inmates with mental health services and other programs.
The Sheriff’s Office is in the process of training communications technicians and call takers in CIT for Dispatch courses.
In an emergency, dial 9-1-1 for assistance. The Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number is (303) 795-4711.
E-mail the CIT Manager at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Arapahoe / Douglas Mental Health