Crisis Intervention Team

The Colonial Area Crisis Intervention Team brings together local stakeholders in an effort to improve the way law enforcement and community members respond to people experiencing behavioral health crises.

These local stakeholders include:

  • Law enforcement officers;
  • Emergency dispatchers;
  • Mental health treatment providers;
  • Individuals receiving mental health services;
  • Hospitals;
  • Non-law enforcement first responders;
  • Family advocates.

The program focuses on enhancing community collaboration while developing effective programs and responses to individuals with mental health issues. Crisis Intervention Team training is aimed at improving the criminal justice and mental health system responses to crises.

CIT represents a major step forward in acknowledging that mental illness is a disease, and recognizing the fact arrest is not always an appropriate response to someone whose behavior is directly related to their disease.

Click to download the Colonial Area CIT brochure.

Goals

  • Improve interactions between law enforcement and persons with mental illness;
  • Prevent inappropriate restraint, incarceration and stigmatization of persons with mental illness;
  • Reduce injury to officers, family members and individuals in crisis;
  • Link individuals with mental illness to appropriate treatment and resources in the community;
  • Reduce concerns among family and friends of those with mental illness by providing the knowledge that there are specially trained officers who can de-escalate the situation; and
  • Reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness by distinguishing the difference between symptoms of mental illness and crime.

Training

The success of the Crisis Intervention Team depends on officers' willingness to participate in an intensive training program.

The program provides information on: signs and symptoms of mental illness; medication and treatment; suicide assessment and prevention; mental health issues in children and the elderly; alcohol and drug assessments and issues; and de-escalation techniques. Information is provided through classroom-based and role-rehearsal training by mental health providers, clients and advocates.

Upcoming Training

The next CIT training will be held 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 3-7 at the James City County Police Department.

Registration for the training is open to anyone interested on a first-come, first-served basis, but preference will be given to law enforcement and first responders of James City County, the City of Poquoson, the City of Williamsburg, York County, Colonial Williamsburg, the College of William & Mary, the National Park Service and Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail. The class size is limited to 24 members.

For more information, and to register, contact CIT Coordinator Jay Sexton via phone at 757-345-1656.

Program History

The Colonial Area Crisis Intervention Team was founded in 2012 with grant funding received from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services. This grant allowed the Colonial Area Crisis Intervention Team to develop a core group of agency partners and begin the process of training local law enforcement officers.

Since its inception, more than 125 members of the community, including more than 100 police officers, have been trained.

Contact

For more information about Colonial Area CIT, contact Crisis Intervention Team Coordinator Jay Sexton at jsexton@colonialbh.org, or by phone at 757-253-4061.

Community Partners

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