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Crisis Intervention Team Training

What is Crisis Intervention Team Training?

CIT is a community partnership of Law Enforcement, Mental Health and Substance Use Professionals, Managing Care Organization, individuals who live with mental health and substance use disorders, their family and other advocates. CIT is designed to address the needs of individuals experiencing a mental health and/or substance crisis and reduce injuries to law enforcement officers. CIT reduces both stigma and the need for further involvement with the justice system.

Why is there a need for CIT?

Law enforcement interactions with individuals experiencing a substance use and/or mental health crisis can:

  • Take more time than other dispatch calls
  • Require officers to have special skills and training
  • Have repeated contact with the same individuals with ongoing substance use and/or mental health disorders
  • Involve a person with mental health disorders committing a minor offense
  • Help individuals in crisis connect with treatment rather than arrest and jail booking

CIT is an innovative training that helps law enforcement and the community address crisis with positive outcomes.

What is the primary goal of CIT?

The primary goal of CIT is to:

  • Promote officer safety and community safety

De-escalation strategies are fundamental in enabling officers to neutralize a situation without the use of force, resulting in a decrease of injuries to officers and individuals experiencing mental health or a substance use crisis. CIT trained officers are given an opportunity to bring hope and recovery to those in crisis.

What does CIT consist of?

A key part of the CIT program is a training course that consists of 40 consecutive hours. The course is created and delivered as a collaborative effort between local law enforcement and partners. The focus of the 40 hour training course is to provide law enforcement officers with the cognition, information, resources, and skills that allow effective problem-solving and promote positive outcomes when responding to incidents involving mental health or substance use crisis. This goal is achieved when officers' exhibit:

  • Enhanced knowledge of mental health-related topics
  • Understanding of the laws protecting people with disabilities
  • Improved de-escalation and crisis resolution skills
  • Provision of referrals, resources, information, and follow-up for consumers and their families
  • Reduced stigma and assumptions
  • Cultural sensitivity and recognition

Visit the Center's National Curriculum webpage for an example of an expanded course outline.

Who facilitates CIT?

Buncombe County's CIT is a partnership with Asheville Police Department, Buncombe County Sheriff's Office, Buncombe County Justice Services, VAYA Health, NAMI, community mental health and substance use providers, and people recovering or living with mental health and substance use disorders and their families.

Buncombe County CIT Facilitators:

Kendra Queen - Buncombe County Justice Services

Kendra Queen is the Diversion Services Supervisor at the Justice Resource Center and works with a team of case managers offering trauma informed services to justice involved individuals, assertive connection to community resources, and support services with the goal of recidivism reduction and a happier healthier community. Kendra is a North Carolina Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a certified CIT coordinator. As the Buncombe County CIT coordinator, Kendra enjoys collaborating with local agencies to provide the officers de-escalation strategies and community resources to assist an individual in crisis. Kendra is a native of Western North Carolina and in her free time enjoys hiking, watching football and skating.

Leslie Lawson - VAYA Health

Leslie Lawson is a native of WNC and graduated from Western Carolina University with a BS in Recreational Therapy. She is a Licensed Recreational Therapist, Certified Dementia Practitioner and qualified mental health professional with more than 20 years of experience in human services, geriatrics and physical medicine/rehab. As a community educator, Leslie is a certified instructor in Mental Health First Aide, QPR, CIT-Y, and as a certified CIT Coordinator. Her work has focused on crisis intervention, mental health and community justice.

Brandon Moore - Asheville Police Department

Brandon Moore is a Captain with the Asheville Police Department. Captain Moore has been in public safety since 2000 serving both Police and Fire agencies in Indiana, North and South Carolina. Captain Moore is a certified CIT coordinator and has been a CIT instructor for five years. "I begin teaching as I had a passion for providing officers all the tools needed to engage the community that find themselves in crisis. After many years on the Crisis Negotiation Team and observing officers feel helpless to this type of emergency, it was time to get more involved in providing all officers in this region the best training available. I am proud to be just a small part of this incredible Buncombe County Crisis Intervention Team which is made up of some incredible clinicians, officers, mental health providers, and leadership staff."

Robin Bryson - Responder Support

Robin has been in the mental health field for 22 years. In her current role, Robin is a triage clinician in the emergency room at Mission Hospital, and will be transitioning to Responder Support Services in the New Year. Robin's role with CIT is to provide psycho-education on psychosis and suicide risk factors, as well as facilitate role plays to guide officers on effective crisis interventions. "I do this work because I was called to the field and I have hope for people to acquire wellness. I also hold the belief that it could be myself or my family in crisis in need of support."

Jonathan Johnson- Buncombe County Detention Facility

Officer Johnson has been a Deputy with the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office since 2015. He currently serves in the Civil Process division. Jonathan has spent most of his career in the Detention Center as both an officer and a supervisor. Jonathan enjoys spending time with his family and playing golf in his spare time. Jonathan considers CIT the most important and effective tool to have on a daily basis especially as a first responder.

Beverly Dale - National Alliance on Mental Illness

Beverly Dale is the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Western Coordinator for CIT. She has been a NAMI member since 2012 and has held the positions of affiliate Executive Committee member, Vice President and President. Beverly was certified to facilitate NAMI Family Support Groups and graduated from NAMI's Family- to-Family Class. Beverly also represented NAMI WC on the executive planning committee and as a major partner in establishing the behavioral health treatment and crisis center for C3356 Comprehensive Care Center.

Evan Coward - Asheville Police Department

Evan Coward is a Lieutenant with the Asheville Police Department. He is a native of Asheville and has served with APD for 15 years. Lt. Coward has been CIT certified since 2009 and values the concept of cooperative problem solving between first responders and resource providers taught in CIT.

Bryan Freeborn - Buncombe County Sheriff's Office

Bryan Freeborn is a Sergeant in Support Operations at the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office. In this role, Bryan manages projects related to travel, training, recruitment, and career development, as well as, new initiatives for the Sheriff's Office. In his time at the Sheriff's Office, Bryan has worked in the Detention Center and as a School Resource Officer. He is a member of the Crisis Negotiation Team. Prior to law enforcement he worked in operations management for logistics and marketing industries. Bryan served as a member of Asheville City Council and as chair of the Asheville Regional Airport Board. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in History from the Evergreen State College. His varied work history and personal experience, along with healthy daily habits of exercise and meditation has allowed him to function effectively in highly stressful environments with shifting priorities, difficult personalities, and competing motives.

Scott Pruett - A-B TECH

Scott is a retired Sergeant from the Asheville Police Department after 29 years of service. Scott served in many roles within the agency including Team Member on the Crisis Negotiation Team. In his current role, Scott is the Law Enforcement Coordinator/Facilitator for AB Tech for the CIT program. CIT is important to Scott for many reasons but most importantly to help officers develop the ability to recognize crisis apart from criminal activity and showcase just how many resources are available to assist the officer in order to streamline their duties and make their jobs safer.

Locate & Contact

Crisis Intervention Team Training

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Contact

Crisis Intervention Team Training
60 Davidson Drive
Asheville, NC 28801
Main P. (828) 250-6411

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Kendra Queen
Coordinator

Hours of Operation

Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.