FAQ's for te Crisis Intervention Team

What Is CIT?

  • Provides a model of specialized law enforcement expertise.
  • Volunteer officers work in cooperation with the mental health system, consumers, and families. 
  • We carry out our normal duties of law enforcement, then switch to a specialist role when a potential mental health-related crisis is identified.
  • We focus on de-escalation strategies, redirecting individuals from the criminal justice system to the mental health care system. In turn, the mental health care system assumes "custody" of the individual, and provides directed and non-restrictive accessibility to a full range of health care and social service options.

How Does CIT Work?

  • Selected volunteer police officers take part in a 5-day, 40-hour training program. The program includes mental health and substance abuse experts, legal experts, consumer/family advocates, and experienced CIT officers.
  • Once trained CIT officers are in place, high-risk crisis calls are directed to an on-duty CIT officer.
  • Officers lead a police-based crisis intervention of generalist officers. Employing a de-escalation intervention strategy, we may access BHR crisis services, or transport individuals to a partnered hospital emergency room.
  • The mental health system assumes "custody" and provides a "police-friendly" efficient turn around time for the officer to return to normal patrol duties.

More Than Just Training

  • Several times a year, officers meet for debriefing meetings and in-service training to problem solve tactical issues, discuss different experiences and scenarios they have encountered, and participate in advanced training. 
  • This allows officers a chance to reinforce and sharpen our skills, address new problems, and build cohesiveness.

Why Does Our Community Need CIT?

  • Police are often the first to be called for a crisis situation involving mental illness. 
  • These situations have involved officer and citizen injury or deaths in the St. Louis area.
  • CIT training significantly decreases injuries, death, and community dissent. In turn, persons with a mental illness are diverted to the mental health system and treatment rather than to jail or to return to the streets.
  • Citizens become more confident in reporting crisis situations and officers are better prepared to respond safely to those situations. 
  • Crisis intervention shifts from lose-lose to win-win.

What are Outcomes of CIT?

  • Increases officer/citizen safety
  • Decreases police liability and litigation
  • Extends officers' skills
  • Increases on-scene expertise
  • Reduces the time officers spend at hospital emergency departments
  • Increases officer/community confidence
  • Increases professionalism
  • Empowers officers to divert person(s) with a mental illness to treatment
  • Increases cooperation between criminal justice and mental health systems
  • Establishes responsibility and accountability
  • Decreases arrest rates
  • Reduces recidivism

* (See Steadman, Deane, Borum, & Morrisey, 1998; Steadman, Morrisey, Borum, & Deane, 1997)

Bottom Line

The Crisis Intervention Team is the best practice approach to law enforcement crisis response.

St. Louis County Police Department

7900 Forsyth Blvd

Clayton, MO 63105

Emergency Calls: Call 911

Non-Emergency Reporting / General Information: (636) 529-8210

TDD: (636) 529-8220 


St. Louis Area CIT Police Coordinator

Sergeant Gary Robertson

7900 Forsyth Boulevard

St. Louis, Missouri 63105

For questions and comments:

Telephone: (314) 615-7117

Email: [email protected]