In February 2013, the Lebanon Police Department announced the formation of a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) after ten members of the department completed a week-long training session in Crisis Intervention. This specialized team provides the department with a group of officers who are able to respond to, and actively engage with, individuals who may be in crisis due to a mental health issue.
CIT training was first developed in the late 1980’s in Memphis, Tennessee, to provide specialized training to police officers to interact with people with mental illness in a more intelligent, understandable and protective way. It provides specially trained officers the ability to respond immediately to crisis calls and better understand what is needed. This understanding allows the officers to focus on de-escalating the event and directing the person to the proper treatment, rather than into the criminal justice system.
The three major tenets of CIT are to identify, de-escalate, and divert. It has been shown that the use of CIT leads to a decrease in use of force and less recidivism. Most importantly, CIT is about doing the right thing for the right reason.
The Lebanon Police Department currently has nineteen certified CIT officers who have the knowledge and approaches to use when responding to calls involving mental illness.