The CIT Program

by Jennifer Tipton

CIT, founded in the year 2000 is the Crisis Intervention Team for Ventura County Law Enforcement. CIT provides training to officers and communication operators who are often the first point of contact for the mentally ill on how to deal with people in crisis, how to recognize different types of mental illnesses and how to get the person the most appropriate help.

The training includes active listening, de-escalating a crisis and providing the appropriate community resources as needed. It is frequently used in domestic situations, dealing with troubled youth, elderly citizens and others.

The 4 goals of the CIT program regarding mental health concerns are:

  1. De-escalate crisis situations
  2. Reduce the use of force
  3. Reduce the use of jail
  4. Decrease the chances of the situation recurring

The Crisis Intervention Team is a collaborative effort between law enforcement, mental health, social services, the medical community and the local chapter of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Per Ashley Bautista , VPD Civic Engagement Specialist “The goal of the CIT program is to provide Crisis Intervention training to 100% of Ventura Police Officers and Public Safety Dispatchers, currently 85% are trained.”

When calling 911 the caller should always inform law enforcement if the crisis is a mental health concern.

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