Police Crisis Intervention Teams: Understanding Implementation Variations and Officer-Level Impacts

  • William V. PelfreyJrEmail author
  • Ania Young


Many police agencies utilize the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) approach to facilitate effective responses when officers are called to address persons experiencing a mental health crisis. CIT training is predicated on verbal de-escalation tactics and includes situational assessment procedures, understanding the role and elements of the mental health system, and connections to mental health resources. The CIT approach, often called the Memphis Model, is generally recognized as beneficial for the community, persons with mental health issues, and the agency. The officer-level impacts of assignment to a CIT position have not been thoroughly explored. Additionally, differences in implementation of the original CIT model, resulting from community variations, have not been studied. The extant research employs several data collection modalities: surveys of CIT coordinators, interviews with leading CIT researchers, and interviews/focus groups with law enforcement personnel, to expand understanding of CIT efficacy, variations, and impact. Findings point to agency policy issues regarding the use and possible expansion of CIT teams.


Police Crisis intervention team CIT Mental crisis 



No funding was received in support of any element of this research.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of an R1—Research University (Highest Research Activity) as ranked by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

Informed Consent

Study participants provided informed consent as required by the University Institutional Review Board.


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Copyright information

© Society for Police and Criminal Psychology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Criminal Justice and Homeland Security/Emergency Preparedness, Wilder School of Government and Public AffairsVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational Theory and PracticeMontana State University at BillingsBillingsUSA

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