The lack of mental health services across the U.S. has resulted in law enforcement officers serving as first responders to most crises. Crisis response and intervention is an innovative, community-based approach to improve the outcomes of these encounters. Having the ability to de-escalate situations in any setting is a highly valued risk-management skill for any law enforcement officer to have.
As high-profile, deadly confrontations between law enforcement officers and civilians continue to generate widespread public concern, de-escalation training has been affirmed as the solution for this seemingly intractable problem. Public officials and policy makers from across the political spectrum have embraced de-escalation training as the key to safer interactions between police and the public.
De-escalation refers to the range of verbal and nonverbal skills used to slow down the sequence of events, enhance situational awareness, conduct proper threat assessments, and allow for better decision-making to reduce the likelihood that a situation will escalate into a physical confrontation or injury and ensure the safest possible outcomes.
The purpose of the Crisis Response and Intervention Training (CRIT) is to prepare police officers in their response to people experiencing crises related to behavioral health (BH) conditions and intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This training is based upon the Memphis Model of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training. Like the Memphis Model, the CRIT curriculum covers topics related to mental health, substance use, and effective responses to people who experience mental health or substance use-related crises in the community. Research suggests that CIT training is effective in improving law enforcement officers’ knowledge of behavioral health conditions, reducing the stigma associated with behavioral health conditions, increasing empathy, and enhancing officers’ confidence in their ability to successfully intervene in a crisis.
The CRIT reflects extensions to the CIT training model by incorporating information on IDD and effective responses to people with IDD. Additionally, the CRIT is designed to support law enforcement agencies in their implementation of many different crisis response models—which may include, but are not limited to, Crisis Intervention Teams—and in collaboration with BH and disability service provider partners.
CRIT’s overall philosophy is officer safety, public safety, and diversion from the criminal justice system when possible. The goals of the curriculum include: (1) expanding knowledge on mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities; (2) creating connections with people with lived experience; (3) enhancing awareness of community services; (4) emphasizing the de-escalation of crisis situations; and (5) supporting officer safety and wellness.
This eight-hour training program covers the following topics:
Introduction to Crisis Response and Intervention
Perceptions and Attitudes on Behavioral Health and Disabilities
Prioritizing Officer Mental Health, Wellness, and Resilience
Understanding Mental Health Conditions and Mental Illnesses
Substance Use Disorders
Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD)
Legal and Policy Topics
Working with People Experiencing Homelessness
De-escalation Communication Skills
De-escalation Strategies, Tactics, and Alternatives to the Use of Force
Approaches to Safely Respond to People with Disabilities or People in Crisis
Strategies for Participating Successfully on Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT)
Referrals to Community-based Supportive Services, Including Housing, Public Benefits, and Behavioral Health
This training program is designed to facilitate discussions about the development of effective crisis management protocols used to deal with emergency situations and demonstrate the lessons learned throughout the presentation. The training concepts include a best practices approach to safely and effectively address the needs of persons in crisis. Crisis communication is the foundation of this program and participants will learn skills to realistically de-escalate crisis situations. Trainees are taught how to affect behavioral change through active listening, developing empathy and rapport, and influencing the person in crisis.
Our Crisis Response and Intervention Training program is delivered both in-person and as a virtual training course. Contact us today to host a course at your location or register for one of our upcoming remote courses!