Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)
CIT is an officer safety program providing law enforcement personnel and other first responders with the skills needed to work safely and effectively with people in crisis. The goal of CIT is to provide options beyond incarceration for people living with mental illness. Officers work closely with the Department of Human Services to quickly connect individuals to mental health professionals.
Training provides officers with the tools needed to engage safely, respectfully, and compassionately with individuals living with mental illness and individuals experiencing crisis. CIT training equips participants with a broader understanding of mental illness, helps to encourage empathy and rapport building, and teaches de-escalation and active listening skills. CIT prides itself on treating individuals with dignity and respect while reducing the stigma of mental illness.
The training encompasses not only Arlington’s police officers and sheriff’s deputies, but also includes officers from the Pentagon Force Protection Agency, Washington Metro Transit Police, and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority as well as law enforcement officers from other agencies across the County, Northern Virginia, and Washington, DC.
- Over 50% of ACPD patrol officers are CIT-trained as of March 2023. CIT officers are available to assist with mental health emergencies 24/7.
- Arlington County’s CIT program currently conducts four 40-hour trainings per year.
- Arlington’s CIT program has expanded to include other criminal justice partners who provide support to the police.
- Arlington has expanded CIT training for magistrates training to include our criminal justice partners throughout the county with a CIT training for legal professionals.
In 2008, Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) and the Department of Human Services joined together to establish the now rapidly growing Crisis Intervention Team program. CIT is an internationally recognized program and best practice that unites law enforcement officers, emergency dispatchers, mental health treatment providers, consumers of mental health services and other community agencies. These options include connecting individuals with community resources, emergency assessments, and crisis stabilization services.
CIT Program Factsheet(PDF, 1MB)
Helping People in Crisis and Making Our Community Safer
CIT officers are trained to respond to people living with mental illness and individuals in crisis in an informed and thoughtful manner. If you or a loved one are experiencing a mental health crisis, ask for an available CIT-trained officer or look for an officer wearing a CIT pin.
January 2023 CIT Graduating Class