Crisis Intervention Team

Lenexa police officer and crisis intervention team staff speaking with a woman in a parking lot.

The Lenexa Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health and addiction professionals, individuals who live with mental illness and/or addiction disorders, their families and other advocates. It is an innovative community response model, including police-based crisis intervention training, to help those in crisis access treatment rather than entering the criminal justice system.

The Lenexa Police Department has been part of CIT since 2005. CIT International recommends agencies have at least 20% of their personnel trained in CIT. To date, over 50% of the Lenexa Police Department personnel have volunteered for and completed CIT certification training.

In the first quarter of 2021 — from Jan. 1 to March 31 — the Lenexa Police Department responded to 284 calls involving mental health crisis. The CIT program plays an important role in these calls for service.

History of CIT

The CIT model was first developed in Tennessee in 1988 in response to a deadly law enforcement incident involving a man experiencing a mental health crisis who was shot and killed by a Memphis police officer. CIT is a collaborative community-policing model that enables communities to be better equipped to respond to individuals experiencing mental health crises. Since its inception, CIT has grown into a national best practice.

The purpose of certification is to identify and reward those programs operating with fidelity to the model.

In 2021, the Lenexa Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program was one of just four agencies, and the first municipal agency, across the United States to earn national certification this year by  CIT International

CIT International is a nonprofit organization comprised of mental health experts, mental health advocates, Ph.D.-level educators, and law enforcement executives who work to establish recommended standards for developing, implementing and sustaining CIT programs.