Questions Frequently Asked by Law Enforcement Officers
- What is CIT?
The Georgia Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Program is a collaboration of professionals committed to assisting persons with mental illnesses and other brain disorders. This collaboration includes local members of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental health service providers, family members, and law enforcement officers. The most important aspect of the CIT Program is the training provided to law enforcement officers.
- What is CIT Training?
CIT trains law enforcement officers to effectively and humanely interact with persons with mental illness. The CIT course is a 40-hour, five-day curriculum that is approved by the Georgia Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) Council. It is comprised of both classroom instruction and practical exercises delivered by mental health professionals, other subject matter experts and CIT law enforcement instructors.
- What is the cost of CIT Training?
The CIT Program operates under a grant provided by the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR) and there are no registration or training fees. All instructors are volunteers who are absolutely committed to the CIT Program and the training materials are provided free to the attending officers.
- Why is CIT important to me?
Law enforcement officers respond to public safety situations involving persons in psychiatric crisis. These situations have the potential to be high risk to all involved and consequently require a trained response. CIT training provides officers with knowledge and practical skills that can be used when dealing with persons with mental illness.
- Why should I attend CIT training?
When a public safety situation occurs involving a person in psychiatric crisis, law enforcement officers will be the first responders. The officers are responsible for handling the incident in the most professional manner possible. CIT training provides officers with the tools to professionally and humanely interact with persons with mental illness.
- How does my agency benefit from my attending CIT training?
CIT training equips you with the skills necessary to appropriately respond to psychiatric crises. These situations may be high risk and may escalate into a use of force incident. The CIT training will provide you with skills that can minimize risk to responding officers and the person in crisis and may prevent the need to use force.
- What can I expect to gain from CIT training?
You will learn communication skills that can assist you in effectively interfacing with persons in psychiatric crisis. These skills can minimize the use of force in many instances, thus protecting both the officers involved and the person in crisis. Although the use of force may ultimately be necessary in some situations, we know from experience that the de-escalation skills learned in CIT training often reduce the level of needed force. Also these communication skills can be an invaluable tool to officers in their regular duties.
- Why does the GBI strongly support the CIT program?
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) investigates numerous law enforcement “use of force” incidents each year in which officers or other involved persons are seriously injured or killed. The GBI believes that CIT training can provide officers with knowledge and de-escalation skills which may decrease the necessity to use force in certain situations. The GBI further believes that the CIT program is an integral part of law enforcement professionalism.
- Why should I attend CIT training when mental health services are limited in my area?
As a law enforcement officer you do not have responsibility for the mental health system, but you do have control over your own actions. You will be dealing with persons in psychiatric crisis regardless of the availability of mental health services. CIT training can prepare you to professionally and humanely respond to these situations.
- What have been the experiences of other trained CIT officers?
Officers who have completed the Georgia CIT training have described the program as follows:
“This was one of the best courses I have taken in my twenty-one year law enforcement career. I would recommend this class for any patrol supervisor and patrol officer.”
“This is like no other training I’ve received as a law enforcement officer.”
“I use CIT training everyday in my dealing with the public.”
“I wish that I had this training at the beginning of my career.”
“It gave me a new outlook on how to deal with consumers.”
“I will have more patience when coming into contact with consumers. I won’t be so quick to arrest.”
“I now realize there are times when a person’s refusal to comply with officers’ commands may be the result of a mental illness.”
“CIT provides officers with a basic understanding of human behavior and offers alternate methods for
responding to people in crisis.”
To obtain additional information about the Georgia Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Program or to request CIT training in your local area, please visit the Georgia Bureau of Investigation website at gbi.georgia.gov or contact the CIT Program Administrator at 404-270-8320 or 404-274-0281.