Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

Norfolk Crisis Intervention Team

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): VA

Jurisdiction(s): City of Norfolk

Grantee Agency: City of Norfolk

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2014/198,227

About the Program:

With support from BJA grant funding, the Norfolk Police Department teamed with the Norfolk Community Services Board to form a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT). CIT is a first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention that provides crisis intervention training to officers and dispatchers assisting those with a mental illness while also providing access to treatment services for the community.

The Norfolk CIT team collaborates with Norfolk Community Mental Health, as well as local medical centers and statewide treatment facilities. The partnership has opened an assessment center staffed by peer support counselors, community mental health workers and CIT officers.

Norfolk started its program in 2014 after seeing an increase in calls surrounding mental health and the mounting situations across the country in which officers interact with those who have a mental health condition.

Through two years, 290 officers from the Norfolk Police Department have participated in the crisis intervention training and an additional 130 officers from surrounding jurisdictions have also received training. The training is a week-long, 40 hour course, taught by certified individuals.

Norfolk's CIT is also a jail diversion program for those dealing with a crisis situation as a result of mental illness. This redirection of services allows the customer to stabilize and reenter the community with a significantly lower probability of coming back into contact with law enforcement.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

The Norfolk CIT detail has handled calls ranging from individuals needing basic guidance in mental health procedures to suicidal barricade subjects.

In one situation, CIT officers responded to a gentleman who was very depressed and had made the decision to end his life. CIT Officers then arrived on scene and spoke with the man for about an hour. After hours of dialogue, the man exited the house and was taken into custody. He was then taken to a hospital where he was able to receive the care he needed.

As demonstrated in the example above, the CIT program improves the safety outcomes on psychiatric calls for service, for the individual in crisis, patrol officers managing the situation, family members, and citizens within the community.

The program success also equates to lower costs and liability risks.

With a CIT program in place, the average time for patrol officers to handle clients in crisis has decreased from approximately five hours to one hour. Now that CIT officers are trained, they are better equipped to handle the unique nature of psychiatric calls.

A unique aspect of the program is that Norfolk has a CIT detail where officers work shifts specifically assigned to handle CIT calls. Recently, due to the success and volume of calls, the CIT detail has expanded its operation from four days a week, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., to six days a week.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Jacqueline Munoz
Corporal
CIT Program Manager
Email: jacqueline.munoz@norfolk.gov
Phone: (757) 664-6390

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