CIT training is designed for law enforcement officers and dispatchers who, in their duties, are frequently called upon to interact with individuals with brain disorders and mental health issues. CIT is more than just training; it is a mind-set. It develops sensitivity and understanding regarding mental health issues and emphasizes accountability and responsibility through the specialization of the CIT officer.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the American Association of Suicidology have recognized the CIT program for distinguished service to individuals with a mental illness. NAMI Memphis credits CIT with saving lives and preventing injuries; to both consumers and officers. Officer injury has decreased seven-fold since the program's inception. The University of Tennessee studies have shown that the CIT program has resulted in a decrease in arrest rates for individuals with a mental illness. Most importantly, CIT officers give consumers a sense of dignity. This dignity generates a new respect and outlook on the police and the mental health systems.
A challenge within Johnson County's law enforcement is the large number of law enforcement agencies within the county metro area. Our agencies are challenged to respond to these types of incidents in a professional and consistent fashion throughout our metro area. It is this need of a consistent response that dictates the need to train our patrol district police officers, field supervisors, and dispatchers in the tenets of the Crisis Intervention Team concept.