Crisis Intervention Team Program Information
Request CIT Training
In 2006, as part of a larger effort to address jail overcrowding and reduce the rate of incarceration of individuals with behavioral health challenges, the Bucks County Commissioners charged the County's Behavioral Health staff with leading an effort to develop a more effective response to individuals in crisis whose behaviors bring them in contact with police officers. Police officers throughout the County had long complained of being compelled to arrest and incarcerate individuals they believed would be better served in a treatment setting. In 2007, County staff recommended, and the Commissioners approved, the use of HealthChoices Reinvestment funds to enhance the County sponsored crisis service operated by Lenape Valley Foundation at Lower Bucks Hospital. Ultimately, the County opted to include, as recommended by members of the Bucks County NAMI chapter, the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) as a component of the County's larger crisis improvement effort.
Start of the Task Force
In 2008, with the support and encouragement of the Bucks County Commissioners, Bucks County, in collaboration with members of the Bucks County Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and other stakeholders, created a Task Force and embarked on the implementation of a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) model for law enforcement departments. Starting with four municipalities in Lower Bucks County, (Bensalem Township, Northampton Township, Bristol Borough, and Bristol Township) 120 individuals representing law enforcement management and the patrol division were provided an introductory six-hour training regarding the CIT model and its benefits to the community. Based on the Memphis model, a weeklong training will be conducted in September 2009 for patrol officers from these four initial police departments leading to certification as a CIT Officer. In the future, it is the intent of the Task Force to make these trainings available to all law enforcement departments throughout Bucks County.
The mission of the Bucks County CIT Task Force: To promote collaboration between Bucks County Law Enforcement, Behavioral Health Organizations, Behavioral Health Advocates, and County Government, and to provide a forum for effective problem-solving. To serve as a vehicle for consumer, family member, and community input into the Bucks County CIT training process. To develop a CIT training program that will be incorporated into the programs of every Bucks County Law Enforcement agency.