Crisis Intervention Team

Information about the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT).

Page updated on Jul 8, 2021 at 11:09 AM

What is a Crisis Intervention Team?                               

A Crisis Intervention Team is comprised of highly skilled and specially trained first responders who function as part of the regular work force. These first responders receive 40 hours of specialized training in the recognition of psychiatric disorders, suicide intervention, substance abuse issues, verbal de-escalation techniques, the role of the family in the care of a person with mental illness, and legal training in mental health and substance abuse issues. In addition to classroom instruction, they participate in role playing exercises based on real-life scenarios and spend an entire day visiting mental health and substance abuse inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities where they have the opportunity to engage in one-on-one dialogue with mental health consumers, and learn about resources available to help people in crisis.  The Alexandria Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) developed through a partnership with the Alexandria Police Department, the Alexandria Community Services Board (DCHS), Alexandria Sheriff’s Office, Alexandria Fire Department, Department of Code Administration and Department of Emergency Communication. 

CIT is based on a model developed by the Memphis Police Department in 1988 following a Police shooting of a person with a mental illness, and it has since been adopted in communities in 45 states. The training is designed to educate and prepare first responders who come into contact with people with mental illnesses to recognize the signs and symptoms of these illnesses and to respond effectively and appropriately. Since first responders are often the first to arrive at these incidents, it is essential that they understand how mental illnesses can alter people's behaviors and perceptions. The trained CIT graduate is skilled at de-escalating crises involving people with mental illness, while bringing an element of understanding and compassion to these difficult situations.


Justin Wise
CIT Program Coordinator

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Crisis Intervention Teams

Officers Trained for Crisis Intervention

Officers Learn to Handle High Stress Stand Offs


  • Orientation to CIT Concepts and Awareness of Mental Health Issues
  • Introduction to Clinical States
  • Cultural Diversity - Reducing Stigma
  • Family/ Consumer Perspective
  • Site Visits
  • Psychotropic Medications
  • Legal Issues: TDO/ECO
  • Basic Crisis Intervention Skills and Facilitated Role Play
  • Active Listening Skills
  • Special Population: Geriatric Issues
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Verbal De-Escalation Skills
  • Intermediate Role Playing Exercises
  • Legal Issues: Mock hearing
  • Suicide Intervention Skills
  • Homeless Issues
  • Jail Diversion
  • CPS
  • Advanced Role Play Exercises