Original Paper

Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 302-317

Outcomes of Police Contacts with Persons with Mental Illness: The impact of CIT

  • Amy C. WatsonAffiliated withJane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago Email author 
  • , Victor C. OttatiAffiliated withLoyola University-Chicago
  • , Melissa MorabitoAffiliated withUMASS-Boston
  • , Jeffrey DraineAffiliated withUniversity of Pennsylvania
  • , Amy N. KerrAffiliated withJane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at ChicagoLoyola University-Chicago
  • , Beth AngellAffiliated withRutgers University

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The Crisis intervention team model (CIT) is possibly the most well known and widely adopted model to improve police response to persons with mental illness. A primary goal of CIT programs is to divert individuals with mental illness from the criminal justice system to mental health services. In this paper we examine the effectiveness of fielding CIT trained and supported officers for influencing call outcomes using data from patrol officers (n = 112) in four Chicago Police districts. Results from regression analysis indicate that CIT certified officers directed a greater proportion of persons with mental illness to mental health services than their Non-CIT certified peers. CIT did not have an immediate effect on arrest. Moderator analysis indicates that CIT had its biggest effect on increasing direction to services and decreasing "contact only" among officers who have a positive view of mental health services and who know a person with mental illness in their personal life. Additional moderators of the CIT effect on call outcomes include level of resistance and the presence of a weapon. Findings from this study have important implications for policy, practice and future research.


Crisis intervention teams Law enforcement Mental health treatment access