Crisis Intervention Teams – Officers Trained to Help

by Lisa Levine

Throughout North Carolina, law enforcement agencies, mental health professionals and advocates join in partnerships to establish Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT). CIT programs are programs that provide law enforcement officers the knowledge and skills they need to de-escalate persons in emergency crisis situations. CIT programs emphasize access to treatment services, rather than jail, for persons displaying signs of mental illness or dementia. Outcomes for both officers, the individuals in crisis, and their families are improved when communities work together in effective CIT programs.

North Carolina graduated its first class of CIT certified officers in Wake County in 2005.

Almost all counties in NC have CIT officers. For example, As of July 2019, 252 law enforcement officers and first responders have become certified CIT Officers and 20 have become certified VeteranCIT Officers through Johnston County.

The Johnston CIT Program is based on the original model developed by the Memphis Police Department. Law enforcement officers and other first responders earn CIT Certification by successfully completing an intensive 40- hour training and evaluation process. Training modules may include:

  • Crisis Intervention & Verbal De-escalation
  • Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Suicide: Risk Factors & Intervention
  • Simulated “Hearing Voices” Exercise
  • Military & Veterans Issues
  • Trauma & PTSD
  • Personality Disorders
  • Responding to Children and Adolescents
  • Intellectual Disabilities/Autism
  • Site visits to Treatment Programs
  • Mobile Crisis Teams & Community Resources
  • Homelessness
  • Dementia and Aging
  • Other topics such as Human Trafficking, Excited Delirium, Deaf and Hard of Hearing, First Responder Stress, Legal Issues, IVC

This year our very own Dementia Training Specialist, Melanie Bunn, RN, was named the Johnston County CIT Presenter of the Year!

Dementia Alliance is very dedicated to our mission of improving the lives of all North Carolinians impacted by dementia. This includes our families, our communities, and our first responders. Since 2011, we have assisted with over 275 CIT training sessions for over 5,600 police officers, EMT’s, 911 Dispatchers, and others in a variety of positions.

To learn more about this program, please visit