Crisis Intervention Team


What is CIT?

CIT stands for Crisis Intervention Team.

CIT brings together police officers, sheriff’s deputies, emergency dispatchers, rescue personnel, magistrates, judges, mental health treatment providers, mental health consumers and others to improve the criminal justice system response to individuals with a mental illness or developmental disability.

The CIT program in Fairfax County adheres to eight essential elements established by the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services.

  1. Develop fully integrated, collaborative community partnerships.
  2. Assign a CIT Coordinator to manage training and program elements.
  3. Provide 40 hours of core training for law enforcement personnel.
  4. Implement train-the-trainer classes to sustain the CIT program.
  5. Provide dispatcher training.
  6. Implement policies and procedures that direct the actions of law enforcement, dispatch and mental health providers.
  7. Establish a therapeutic assessment location that is not a jail.
  8. Collect data to monitor the progress and impact of CIT programs.

What is a CIT officer or deputy?

CIT police officers and sheriff’s deputies have received 40 hours of crisis intervention team training, which gives them the knowledge and skills to appropriately manage interactions with individuals experiencing a mental health crisis. If members of the community call 911 for immediate assistance in such a crisis situation, they can ask for a CIT officer.

What is CIT training for law enforcement personnel?

Day 1

  • Introduction to CIT
  • Serious mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression
  • Clinical states and experiential component, which focus on what is going on at the time of the encounter rather than on the diagnosis
  • Practical exercise - audio hallucinations
  • Developmental disabilities, including intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders
  • Psychotropic medications

Day 2

  • Site visits to Adult Detention Center mental health units, Merrifield Center, Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute and Crisis Care
  • Mental health consumer presentations

Day 3

  • NAMI Northern Virginia consumer presentations
  • Active listening techniques
  • Crisis intervention skills and de-escalation techniques
  • Emergency Custody Orders (ECO) and Temporary Detention Orders (TDO)
  • Basic role play exercises

Day 4

  • Emergency services and community resources
  • Suicide prevention and intervention skills
  • Legal issues and jail diversion
  • Intermediate role play exercises

Day 5

  • Project Lifesaver overview
  • Self-medication and substance abuse
  • Special populations:
    • Children and adolescents
    • Veterans with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Course review and written exam
  • Advanced role play exercises
  • CIT certificate presentation

Contact Fairfax County: Phone, Email or Twitter | Main Address: 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035
Technical Questions: Web Administrator

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