The Lancaster County Crisis Intervention Team is modeled after the Memphis Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team. In 1988, the Memphis Police Department joined in partnership with the Memphis Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental health providers, and two local universities (the University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee) in organizing, training, and implementing a specialized unit.
This unique and creative alliance was established for the purpose of developing a more intelligent, understandable, and safe approach to mental health crisis events. This community effort was the genesis of the Memphis Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team and has become the standard for other crisis intervention teams.
National advocates, such as The National Alliance on Mental Illness and The American Association of Suicidology have recognized the CIT program for distinguished service to the mentally ill. NAMI (Memphis) credits CIT with saving lives and preventing injuries, both for consumers and officers. Officer injury data has decreased by seven-fold since the program inception. University of Tennessee studies have shown that the CIT program has resulted in a decrease in arrests rates for the mentally ill, an impressive rate of diversion into the health care system, and a resulting low rate of mental illness in our jails.
Most importantly, CIT officers give consumers a sense of dignity. This dignity generates a new respect and outlook on the police and the mental health systems.