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Albuquerque Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team: A Report Card

NCJ Number
FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin Volume: 70 Issue: 2 Dated: February 2001 Pages: 1-6
Deborah L. Bower; W. Gene Pettit
Date Published
February 2001
6 pages
This article provides evidence of the effectiveness of the Albuquerque Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), which responds to individuals who, in a time of crisis, pose a danger to themselves or others.
After 3 years of operation, the CIT has collected facts and tabulated data to examine its effectiveness. In 1999 the CIT responded to 3,257 calls. Almost half of the contacts resulted in transporting individuals to a local mental health facility, where they received professional care. Officers arrested, transported to jail, or otherwise took into protective custody fewer than 10 percent of the individuals contacted. Injuries to citizens during the CIT contacts occurred in only just over 1 percent of the calls. Although mental illness was an apparent factor in 58 percent of the calls, almost half of the calls (45 percent) involved suicide attempts or threats. Alcohol, present in 27 percent of the cases, was the most frequently cited substance of abuse. Since the inception of the CIT, special weapons and tactics (SWAT) call outs that have involved a crisis intervention component have decreased 58 percent. Police shootings that have involved individuals in crisis have also declined incrementally since 1997, as the CIT program has developed. The CIT has worked because the Albuquerque Police Department studied other successful programs and planned carefully. Also, the department emphasized five main areas: the selection and training of CIT officers, the operational concept of the CIT, the team-within-a-team approach, the partnering of community resources, and the cost-effective aspects of the CIT. This article describes how each of these factors has operated within the CIT program. CIT data for 1999 are provided.