Law Enforcement Perspectives


In 2004, in the state of Louisiana, there were 3 persons with a mental illness killed during confrontations with police. In the same year, 9 law enforcement officers were killed in this state. Of these officers killed, 6 officers were killed by subjects with a mental illness. At the current rate, officers are being killed at a rate of 2:1 by persons with a mental illness.
An Officer Safety Program: CIT started out to try to fix a broken healthcare system, but once cops became involved, CIT turned into an officer safety program.

Deinstitutionalization began in the 1960's when persons with a mental illness were brought into the mainstream. But, there was no funding for crucial services or to facilitate patient integration within the community.
Resources are very limited. Hospitals must choose between long term care for those with a mental illness or short term care for those with a physical illness. For persons with a mental illness, follow-up treatment and care is costly or hard to access. With steadily shrinking budgets, services for the less fortunate, the indigent, and persons with a mental illness are usually cut first.

Through default, law enforcement has been handed the problem of mental illness crises on the street with little resources or training. In addition to the responsibility of responding to mental health issues/calls, jail populations have increased. Mental illness has been criminalized because police are left with the only resource that they know -- jail.

Police feel frustration and feel like a scapegoat by a mental health system that is seriously inadequate and in need of change. Law enforcement get all of the blame when things go wrong, but they are still the first and last line of defense for protecting people in our community.

Blame does not fix things. The solution lies in collaboration. Both law enforcement and the mental health system have the same goal and serve the same public.
In a perfect world, officers should never be directed to go pick up a person with a mental illness. But, we know in our community that is exactly the task they are assigned to do many times a day. Additional officer safety issues arise with repeat calls officers become too comfortable with the consumer. They may let their guard down and not conduct searches because they do not want to risk disrupting any established rapport. They may become complacent. But, safety must always be paramount to all concerned.

CIT Training Mission:

To set a standard of excellence for our officers with respect to interactions with persons with a mental illness.

The Northeast Delta CIT Training Program is designed to enable specially trained officers to have more "tools" in the "toolbox" to respond to calls relating to mental illness crises. Our program does not overload officers with too many small details because under stress, officers resort to basic, simple skills.

CIT officers remain a part of the general patrol division and are not isolated in the department. They work the same calls, wrecks, traffic enforcement, etc. as the regular patrol division which also tends to lead to less of a stigmatism in their own police department. CIT officers keep that identity of police working the street.

CIT officers make themselves known within their communities. They are often sought out by consumers and family members. CIT officers make the winning solutions for everyone the consumer, the police, and the community.

CIT officers must show care, compassion, sincerity, and rapport.
Remember, a CIT officer can be the best communicator in the world with hundreds of hours of training and the call can still go bad quickly. CIT should not remove the winning spirit in an officer, it should increase it. No one should be confused that consumers are not responsible for their actions. Safety for all is important.
The Northeast Delta CIT Training Program is an officer safety program. It is a collaborative effort to promote the safety and well-being of all concerned.

Please see our Training Program section for further information about our program and our instructors. Please see our Training Schedules for upcoming training dates.
SPEAKER REQUEST Please contact us if you are in need of a speaker for your civic group or organization. We will be more than happy to speak to your group about Crisis Intervention Team Training, the Northeast Delta CIT, and mental illness awareness and education. We will tailor the program to your needs and available time. You may contact us by phone or by email on our contact page.