Crisis Intervention Team

The Colonial Area Crisis Intervention Team brings together local stakeholders to improve the multi-systemic response to persons experiencing behavioral health crises who come into contact with law enforcement first responders.

These 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 enhances community collaboration, develops effective infrastructure and provides outstanding training to improve criminal justice and mental health systems' response to individuals with mental health issues. CIT represents a major step forward in acknowledging that mental illness is a disease - and recognizing the fact that arrest is not always an appropriate response to someone whose behavior is directly related to symptoms of their disease.

Click to download the Colonial Area CIT brochure.

Goals

  • To improve interactions between law enforcement and persons with mental illness
  • To prevent the inappropriate restraint, incarceration and stigmatization of persons with mental illness
  • To reduce injury to officers, family members and individuals in crisis
  • To link individuals with mental illness to appropriate treatment and resources in the community
  • To reduce concerns among family and friends of those with mental illness by knowing that there are specially trained officers that can de-escalate the situation
  • To reduce the stigma of mental illness by distinguishing the difference between symptoms of mental illness and crime

Training

Success of the program depends on the willingness of officers to participate in an intensive training program which provides information on: signs and symptoms of mental illness; medication and treatment; suicide assessment and prevention; mental health issues in children and among the elderly; alcohol and drug assessments and issues; and de-escalation techniques. This is achieved through classroom and role-rehearsal training with mental health providers, clients and advocates.

Program History

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

Contact

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

Partners

  • Colonial Community Criminal Justice Board
  • Colonial Behavioral Health
  • Colonial Williamsburg
  • Eastern State Hospital
  • James City County Police
  • National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • Poquoson Police Department
  • Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services
  • Virginia Peninsula Regional Jail
  • William & Mary Police
  • Williamsburg Community Health Foundation
  • Williamsburg-James City Sherriff's Office
  • Williamsburg Police Department
  • York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office
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