Sandhills Center
24-Hour Call Center:
Behavioral Health Crisis Line:
Main Menu
Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training

Pre-arrest jail diversion for those in mental health crisis


Crisis Intervention Team training is a joint effort between Sandhills Center, law enforcement, local National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) chapters, service providers, and the community college system, which offers CIT training in addition to the basic law enforcement curriculum.

CIT trains first responders to understand people who are experiencing mental health, intellectual/developmental disabilities, and substance use disorder challenges. They learn skills to de-escalate situations, and how to recognize people in crisis so they can get the help they need. It also teaches tools to encourage people who need treatment to access services.

For the latest information, please visit the current CIT Training News Briefs section.

For archived CIT Training News briefs, click here.


Why is CIT training so important?

Each year about 25,000 people with severe mental illness end up in North Carolina jails. Encounters between these individuals and law enforcement officers can sometimes end tragically. CIT training plays an important role in educating officers to respond appropriately in such situations. Law enforcement and mental health professionals have joined forces throughout the country to establish CIT programs, giving first responders the knowledge and skills needed to de-escalate crisis situations, and emphasize treatment rather than incarceration.

The first CIT program was started in 1988, in Memphis, Tenn., following the police-shooting death of a man with mental illness. Today, its success has inspired communities throughout the country to start CIT programs. In North Carolina, CIT training began in 2005. According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, more than 50 percent of the state's law enforcement population is now CIT trained. 

In the Sandhills Center region, CIT began in 2008. Since then, it has grown exponentially. In total, we have graduated more than 1,500 first responders. 

CIT training has been proven to help first responders provide safe interventions with people experiencing mental health crises. It is recognized as a best practice by multiple organizations including NAMI, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the White House Conference on Mental Health.

Training details

CIT training is a rigorous 40-hour curriculum. It involves classroom lectures, site visits and role-playing exercises, among other valuable learning tools. It has these important objectives:

Benefits of CIT

CIT programs have positive outcomes for law enforcement and the mental health system. Benefits include:

For more information or to request CIT training in your community, please contact Kellie Moran (Phone: 336- 389-6132), or Robert Nelson (Phone: 910-673-7148), or Jennifer LaBonte (Phone: 336-389-6464), Justice Systems Clinical Liaisons for Sandhills Center.