The Plano Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program was implemented in 2009 as a means to provide a more professional and humane response to individuals living with serious mental illness and developmental disorders. The program is based on the Memphis Model which is the standard for similar programs nationwide. CIT is designed to increase communication and collaboration between law enforcement, our mental health providers, advocates, and families.
The department's Crisis Intervention Team is composed of police officers and civilian employees who volunteer to become certified in crisis intervention after attending a specialized school. Major topics of study include the recognition of mental illness, psychopharmacology, on-site visits to local mental health facilities, and crisis de-escalation skills.
History & Development of CIT
The Crisis Intervention Team Program was developed in 1988 by the Memphis, Tennessee Police Department in response to a tragic incident involving a mentally ill individual. In 1987, police officers in Memphis fatally shot a suicidal person who was cutting himself with a knife after approaching officers. After the incident, there was an outcry from the public regarding the way the department handled the incident that ultimately prompted the mayor to establish an investigative task force to make recommendations for improvement.
The task force that was formed was comprised of representatives from the police department, the medical center at the University of Tennessee, the board of education, local mental health facilities, local citizens, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). The task force ultimately created the CIT program in an attempt to prevent this type of tragedy from occurring again.
With the success of the Memphis Police Department's program, police agencies nationwide began to implement similar programs. The Memphis Model thus became the standard for law enforcement agencies across the nation.
Plano's CIT Program
Along with training and providing professional care to people in crisis, Plano Police's CIT Officers continually work with the community to develop ongoing programs. These programs are designed to provide support and resources for those in the City of Plano who might be living with mental illness. In this video, Sergeant A.D. Paul explains to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, during a 2014 U.S. Senate hearing, how the Plano Police's CIT Program operates. (Sergeant Paul's testimony begins at the 40-minute mark followed by a question and answer period with Senators.
The Dallas Police Department, in partnership with Plano and other agencies, has put together a 40-hour class that includes classroom, observation at local hospitals, practical exercises, and interviews. Those who graduate from this training also qualify to be a Certified Texas Mental Health Officer.
Listed below are links to several entities across the county that have implemented this program: