Nature of Incident: Ventura County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Celebrates 20 years of Training and Collaboration
Report Number: N/A
Location: Ventura County
Date & Time: December 2021
Ventura County Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention Team: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office & its contract cities
(Ojai, Fillmore, Moorpark, Camarillo, and Thousand Oaks) Ventura Police Department
Oxnard Police Department Simi Valley Police Department
Port Hueneme Police Department Santa Paula Police Department
Ventura County Behavioral Health Department (VCBH) National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
December 2021 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Ventura County Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention Team. Since 2001 the program has hosted 56 academies training nearly 2000 first responders, communication operators, and key designated personnel. The CIT program goals:
- Reduce the intensity of a crisis using de-escalation strategies.
- Reduce the necessity for use of force.
- Promote pre-custody diversion.
- Collaborate with mental health consumers, their families, the community, and the stakeholders to build and support a vibrant and accessible crisis system.
Modeled after an International program created in Memphis, Tennessee in 1988, the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health professionals, individuals who live with mental illness and/or addiction disorders, their families, and other advocates. It is an innovative first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention training 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. It also promotes officer safety and the safety of the individuals in crisis.
The 40-hour training requires an instructional team of 50-60 mental health clinicians, peers, persons with lived experience, and law enforcement professionals.
The Ventura County CIT program was created in 2001 as a response to law enforcement leaders’ recognition that there was a growing need for law enforcement to be able to safely respond to crisis calls for service, reduce the use of force, and compassionately connect people with services while avoiding incarceration.
Ventura County is unique in the State of California because every law enforcement agency participates in the same training program.
The program staff’s two full-time employees to manage the program. The program is funded by a collaborative partnership through a law enforcement memorandum of agreement and VCBH memorandum of understanding. CIT has also maintained a strong working partnership with NAMI since 2001.
Prepared by: Captain Shane Matthews, Countywide CIT Law Enforcement Administrator, Mark Stadler, CIT Program Administrator
News Release Date: 12/22/2021
Approved by: Commander Eric Tennessen