Ventura County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Celebrates its 60th CIT Academy Class

In October of 2023, CIT Ventura County will host its 60th Crisis Intervention Team Academy Class. This milestone will have resulted in the CIT Program having trained nearly 2200 first responders, communication operators, and key designated personnel. The CIT program goals are:
• Reduce the intensity of a crisis using de-escalation strategies.
• Reduce the necessity to use of force on people in crisis.
• Promote pre-custody diversion.
• Collaborate with persons using mental health services, their families, the community, and the stakeholders to build and support a vibrant and accessible crisis system.

Modeled after an international program created in Memphis, Tennessee in 1988, the Crisis Intervention Team program is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health professionals, individuals who live with mental illness and/or addiction disorders, intellectual/developmental disabilities, their families, and other advocates. It is an innovative first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention training to help persons with mental disorders and/or addictions access support and medical treatment rather than place them in the criminal justice system. It also promotes officer safety and the safety of the individuals in crisis.

The 40-hour training requires an instructional team of 50-60 mental health clinicians, peers, persons with lived experience, and law enforcement professionals.

The Ventura County CIT program was created in 2001 as a response to law enforcement leaders’ recognition that there was a growing need for law enforcement to be able to safely respond to crisis calls for service, reduce the use of force, and compassionately connect people with services while avoiding incarceration.

Ventura County is unique in the State of California because every law enforcement agency participates in the same training program.

The program staff’s two full-time employees to manage the program. The program is funded by a collaborative partnership through a law enforcement memorandum of agreement and VCBH memorandum of understanding. CIT has also maintained a strong working partnership with NAMI since 2001.

Nature of Incident: Ventura County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Celebrates its 60th CIT Academy Calss
Report Number: N/A
Location: Ventura County
Date & Time: October 2023
Units(s) Responsible:

Ventura County Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention Team:
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Ojai Police Department
Ventura Police Department Fillmore Police Department
Oxnard Police Department Camarillo Police Department
Simi Valley Police Department Thousand Oaks Police Department
Port Hueneme Police Department Moorpark Police Department
Santa Paula Police Department
Ventura County Behavioral Health Department (VCBH)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Prepared by: Aaron Kitzman, CIT Program Administrator II
Captain Jason Hendren, Countywide CIT Law Enforcement Administrator

Approved by: Captain Jason Hendren