Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)
In 2020, the Creve Coeur Police Department responded to over 100 calls for persons experiencing a mental health-related crisis. These calls range from subjects suffering with depression, anxiety, confusion, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and even homicidal or suicidal feelings.
Fortunately, almost every officer on the force has completed 40 hours of special training in crisis intervention response. These certified Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) officers are able to skillfully interact with persons in crisis using de-escalation techniques that increase the overall chances of a safe and effective outcome. The curriculum includes training on recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses in addition to training on mental health treatment, co-occurring disorders, legal issues and de-escalation techniques.
The CIT program is a national model aimed to promote more effective interactions among law enforcement, mental health care providers, individuals with mental illnesses, their families and communities. As a result, those individuals in crisis will not be unnecessarily arrested because of behavior related to their illness but will instead be afforded access to emergency, inpatient and community-based mental health treatment services.
In situations where arrests do occur, those cases can be recommended for mental health court, which focuses on treatment rather than punishment. The mental health court is a treatment court operated by the St. Louis County Circuit Court. Participants take part in a variety of counseling-related programs that upon successful completion can result in a dismissal of charges or a shorter probation.
In circumstances where there are repeated calls for service involving the same individual who does not have a mental health care plan in place, the Police Department utilizes the Community Mental Health Liaison (CMHL) Program. CMHLs are mental health professionals who work with law enforcement agencies and the court systems to coordinate the use of mental health resources.
This resource allows for officers to request CMHL intervention for those having frequent interaction with law enforcement. Through the CMHL program, people with behavioral health issues will have better access to treatment.
Currently, 98% of Creve Coeur Police Officers with two years or more of service are certified in CIT response. Approximately 50% of those officers have training in Advanced CIT response. In addition, Creve Coeur Police Officers receive use of force and de-escalation training throughout the year and remain committed to developing better strategies in dealing with complex calls for service.
For more information, contact Thomas Exline, CIT Supervisor, at (314) 432-8000 ext. 3552 or visit missouricit.org.
What is CIT?
Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) focuses on de-escalation strategies and redirecting the individual from the criminal justice system to the mental health care system.
- Promote more effective interactions between local law enforcement and other first responders and individuals in crisis through a 40 hour training centered on behavioral health education and de-escalation skills
- Help individuals in crisis by connecting them with appropriate community resources
- Improve the safety of the first responder and individual(s) in crisis
- Reduce stigma