The lack of mental health crisis services across the U.S. has resulted in law enforcement officers often serving as first responders in many crisis situations.
A Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is an innovative, community-based approach to improve the outcomes of these encounters.
Buncombe County has a robust CIT program that has been offered to area law enforcement agencies and first responders since 2008.
Goals of Program
The International Crisis Intervention Team describes CIT in this way:
- Research also shows that communities that prescribe to the CIT Program model, have higher success rates in resolving serious crisis situations.
- Improve Officer and Consumer Safety
- To help persons with mental disorders and/or addictions access medical treatment rather than place them in the criminal justice system due to illness related behaviors.
CIT Training Class
The Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office is proud to offer a CIT class to our staff multiple times per year. This class is led by our Chief Deputy, Don Eberhardt and Amy Griffith, Diversion Services Director for RHA Health Services.
Our 40-hour CIT training is certified by AB Tech and covers the following topics:
- Mood and Anxiety Disorders
- Substance Use Disorders
- Personality Disorders
- Brain Disorders
- Suicide by Cop
- Trauma and Resiliency
The training program teaches officers and first responders about different types of mental health diagnoses and medications, discusses the impact of stigma on individuals living with mental health issues, and teaches de-escalation skills specific to this population.
In Buncombe County, clinical experts from community partners share their knowledge and assist with role playing. Deputies spend a full day visiting local agencies who serve individuals with mental health issues.
To learn more about CIT you can visit this page on the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) website.
Notice: As of October of 2019 more than 60 percent of sworn Officers at the Sheriff’s Office have completed the course. Sheriff Miller’s goal is for every Deputy at the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office to take the class.