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Celebrating over 25 Years of CIT

                     January 2015

In this issue

President's Message

by Michael S. Woody, President, CIT International  


The CIT Program which was developed in Memphis TN and first implemented by the Memphis Police Department over 25 years ago has stood the test of time in this large urban police agency.  They hand-picked volunteer patrol officers who were interviewed by the CIT Coordinator, and had shown through their work record that they had the maturity and aptitude to safely handle calls involving persons in mental health crisis.  These "CIT Officers" answer all calls for service just like non-CIT patrol officers do, but when the call is based in a mental illness it is given to these "experts".

A study by the University of Memphis later showed that injury to all officers, whether they were a CIT officer or not went down significantly as well as injuries to those suffering this illness.  So, one could make the case that a paradigm shift occurred in the entire Memphis Police Department when handling these type of calls.  In over a quarter of a century there has been no public outcry over the way persons suffering a mental illness are treated by this law enforcement agency. 


The Memphis PD and their community partners (mental health providers & advocacy groups) believe that "special people deserve special officers".  It is not the 40-hour intensive CIT Course that makes an officer an expert at handling these often-difficult calls.  It is that the "CIT Officer" handles a lot more of these calls, which in a short time transforms them into expertsAnd, it is the partnership with the community that nurtures this CIT PROGRAM.  Apparently the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) agrees.


If you go on-line you can read what The Department of Justice says reference not following the CORE ELEMENTS of a CIT Program as developed by CIT International.


DOJ Consent Decree -New Orleans Police Department, 2011; pages 34 - 37


DOJ Letter to the Mayor, Sept. 2012 ref: Investigative findings of the Portland Division of Police, pages 19,20,21 & 40.


DOJ Letter to the Mayor, April 2014; ref: Investigative findings of the Albuquerque Police Department, pages 34,35,42,43.


DOJ Letter to the Mayor, December 2014 ref: Cleveland Police Department, pages 52 - 54.




PoliceOne Video:  
Cop prevents suicide days after crisis intervention training.
The officer reassured the man that he wasn't going to go to jail, and that the officers were trying to help him.
Officer Andrew Gohn
Officer Andrew Gohn

Dec 23, 2014

By Sarah J. Pawlowski

Daily Press

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - The man was lying on the sidewalk when officers arrived, an 8-inch butcher knife firmly pressed against his stomach. He was crying. He said he didn't deserve to live...


read it all and view video:  


Officer Andrew Gohn, Newport News VA PD talks about the incident and CIT training: 




Ismaaiyl Brinsley, the man who killed two New York City police officers execution style before taking his own life, struggled with unaddressed mental health issues while building a lengthy criminal record that included convictions for violent acts against women, according to court records and family members' accounts.


This new information counts among the evidence authorities have collected in the days since Brinsley opened fire on Officers Rafaeal Ramos and Wenjian Liu as they sat in their patrol car in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. Civil rights leaders, lawmakers, activists, and law enforcement officials have decried the acts of violence that have taken place amid the peaceful protests of police killings of young men of color across the country...

  Tanisha Anderson's family wants better mental-health training for police 
89.7 WKSU   A service of Kent State University

The family of Tanisha Anderson is calling for a law requiring training of police officers when dealing with mentally ill people. WKSU's Kabir Bhatia reports.
The family of Tanisha Anderson filed a federal civil rights suit Wednesdayagainst the city of Cleveland and the two officers blamed for causing her death. Anderson was schizophrenic and her family had called police for assistance.

The suit seeks an undisclosed amount of money and a jury trial. And it cites the recent Justice Department report criticizing Cleveland police for a lack of training in various areas...

At a press conference Thursday, attorney Al Gerhardstein said one of the family's aims is for a state law that ensures every police officer in Ohio is trained in appropriate ways to deal with mentally ill people.

Read or listen to the full story at 

Orange County Register  Jan. 6, 2015
Huntington Beach officers talk about how they use force, when and why
by Lauren Williams  

HUNTINGTON BEACH - When police respond to a call for help, they often have to make life-altering decisions in seconds. 
Chief Robert Handy
What kind of training they receive, what tools they have available and why they use those tools in critical moments were topics at a community meeting ...Huntington Beach Police Chief Robert Handy and Lt. John Domingo addressed some 60 residents and explained why police use force with confrontational suspects.

When someone is uncooperative, combative and confrontational with police in Huntington Beach, 82 percent of the time that person is either under the influence of drugs or alcohol or battling a mental illness...

Mental health center in Baton Rouge could save taxpayers money,
San Antonio leader says

Right now in Baton Rouge, police essentially have two options if they're called to a scene involving a mentally ill person who is behaving violently or erratically: Take them to the emergency room, or to the parish prison. 

But these are just short-term solutions to a long-term problem, said Baton Rouge Police Chief Carl Dabadie.


Officials in San Antonio, Texas, found themselves facing similar issues. A decade ago, they started the Restoration Center, which focuses on helping and treating the mentally ill instead of imprisoning them -- helping them get the medical treatment they need, or helping them to detox and fight their addictions. And ... it's paying enormous dividends, both reducing the prison population and saving money.

for full story, see: 



Portland Police Set New Standard For Dealing With Mentally Ill

In the midst of a national outcry over police treatment of people with mental illness, Oregon's Portland Police Bureau has drafted a new policy to better prepare its officers for these confrontations.  

According to the policy, before responding to a call about someone suffering from a mental health episode, police are supposed to assess the risks posed to themselves and others, and determine whether or not a police response is actually needed. 

If a response proves necessary, then police have a choice of the following directives:

  • De-escalate: A deliberate attempt to reduce the necessity or intensity of force to resolve a confrontation.
  • Delay Custody: A tactic that can be used if the member determines immediately taking the person into custody may result in an undue safety risk.
  • Disengage: The intentional decision, based on the totality of the circumstances, to discontinue contact after initial attempts with a person in crisis.
  • Elope: To abscond, depart, leave, or walk away.
  • Non-engage: The intentional decision, based on the totality of the circumstances, not to make contact with a person in crisis.
          full story

Dept of Justice Investigative Reports of police organizations 

U.S. Dept of Justice:

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 celebrating over 25 years of  CIT