This study evaluated training in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) best practices for law enforcement officers.
This study found that continuing education in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) best practices appears to increase law enforcement officers’ knowledge base and comfort in working with individuals with mental illness and criminal justice involvement, as well as results in positive attitudinal shifts towards this population. CIT training aims to improve law enforcement officers’ (LEOs) ability to safely intervene in calls for service involving individuals with mental illness, as well as to increase LEOs’ ability to link these individuals to mental health services and divert them from the criminal justice system. However, most CIT training is delivered as a stand-alone class, and continuing education in CIT principles and best practices is limited. To address this problem, the Albuquerque Police Department, in partnership with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of New Mexico, developed CIT ECHO to provide continuing education in CIT best practices. The authors evaluated 113 weekly CIT ECHO sessions targeting LEOs in New Mexico, offered between 2017 and 2020. LEOs electronically completed a post-session survey after each didactic; additionally, a targeted follow-up survey was distributed to LEOs participating in at least three sessions. Surveys measured impact of CIT ECHO on knowledge, self-efficacy, and attitudes towards individuals with mental illness involved in the criminal justice system. After participating in CIT ECHO, LEOs reported increases in knowledge of didactic content and that they felt comfortable applying didactic content on the job. LEOs also evidenced positive attitudinal shifts towards individuals with mental illness and criminal justice involvement. Continuing education in CIT best practices appears to increase LEOs’ knowledge base and comfort in working with individuals with mental illness and criminal justice involvement, as well as results in positive attitudinal shifts towards this population. (Published Abstract Provided)
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