From the Office of the Chief of Police
Fairfax County Police Department
Dear Community Members,
Crisis Intervention Team training (CIT) is a critical skill set for our police officers, as it provides a better understanding and deeper appreciation for individuals suffering from a mental health crisis. The Fairfax County Police Department recognizes the crucial importance of CIT training, and it is vital to how we serve and safeguard our communities.
Currently, more than 400 police officers assigned to patrol have attended CIT courses, which consist of 40 hours of instruction, simulation, and practical exercises. This figure represents approximately 40% of our patrol officers, who respond to unpredictable and often risky calls for service every day in Fairfax County. To further efforts, all current police officers, as well as current and future police recruit classes attending the Fairfax County Criminal Justice Academy, receive basic instruction on Crisis Intervention tactics. This standard curriculum is designed to enhance an officer's capabilities and awareness upon encountering an individual in mental health crisis.
On January 1, 2016, CIT-trained officers were selected to collaborate with the Fairfax County-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) at the Merrifield Crisis Response Center (MCRC); a primary location in Fairfax County for mental health needs and services. The primary function of those CIT officers is to provide a high-level continuum of care for individuals brought to the MCRC by others for a mental health evaluation, stabilization plan, or hospitalization. The service provided by the CIT-trained officers at MCRC greatly increases the level of care and compassion for individuals suffering from a mental health crisis or illness in addition to providing a layer of security and safety for everyone.
Police officers may also divert individuals suffering from mental illness who commit low-level, low-risk offenses from entering the criminal justice system, through a program known as Diversion First. For more information on this program, please visit https://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/topics/diversion-first.
The Fairfax County Police Department is committed to providing exceptional service to every member of our community, without exclusion. To that end, we have bolstered our CIT efforts by implementing a Co-Responder Program where a CIT trained police officer is paired with a mental health clinician from the MCRC to respond in real time to persons in crisis. This program ensures we have the best resources available, to provide the right intervention, at the right time, by the right person.
Should you have any questions or require additional information on this program, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chief of Police
12099 Government Center Parkway
Fairfax, Virginia 22035