Kitsap County
Crisis Intervention Team

A program based on community and police partnerships.


Why have Crisis Intervention Officers?

Police are often the first to be called for a crisis situation involving persons with a mental illness. These situations can and have involved officer and citizen injury or deaths nationwide.
CIT training significantly decreases injuries, death, and community dissent. In turn, persons with a mental illness are diverted to the mental health system and treatment rather than to jail or to return to the streets.
Citizens will become more confident in reporting crisis situations and police officers are better prepared to respond safely to those situations.

What are Crisis Intervention Officers (CIOs)?

Crisis Intervention Officers (CIOs) are highly trained officers in Kitsap County law enforcement agencies who work to improve interaction between law enforcement and persons with behavioral health issues. These officers aim to minimize the use of force in crisis situations, and to prevent the inappropriate restraint, incarceration, and stigmatization of people with mental illness. CIO’s help reduce injury to officers, family members, and individuals in crisis, and link individuals with mental illness to appropriate treatment and resources in the community.

What is the Kitsap County Crisis Intervention Team?

The Kitsap County Crisis Intervention Team started in 2013 with the support of political leaders, community activists, and law enforcement personnel throughout the county. Under the this program, crisis intervention officers are identified and trained in each law enforcement agency within our county. CIO’s meet as a team, on a regular basis, to design training programs, identify gaps in resources, discuss best practices, and consider opportunities for police/community collaboration. CIO’s serve as resources to other officers who are involved in crisis situations. These officers cross city lines to help officers and community members, throughout the county, who are in need of specialized assistance. A CIO officer is available, somewhere in Kitsap County, 24 hours a day. They work closely with EMTs and medical professionals. The CIO program reflects officers’ belief that crisis response must be a part of a coordinated, county-wide effort.

How many CIO’s are in Kitsap County?

There are currently 26 CIOs.

What is CIT training?

CIT training is designed to educate and prepare police officers who come into contact with people with mental illnesses. It teaches officers to recognize the signs and symptoms of illnesses and to respond effectively and appropriately to individuals in crisis. Because police officers are often the first responders in mental health related emergiencies, it is essential that they know how mental illnesses can alter people’s behaviors and perceptions. The trained CIT officer is skilled at de-escalation techniques, and can bring an element of understanding and compassion to difficult situations.

Are CIO officers the only officers with CIT training?

No, many officers in our local police departments, and all officers in some cities, have basic CIT training. Starting in 2017, all new officers in Washington state will receive basic CIT instruction and all continuing officers will be required to satisfy a yearly CIT requirement (link to Douglas M. Ostling Act). Several employees at CenCom and the County Jail have received training, and we encourage fire personnel and emergency room personnel to join our CIT classes.

Can I ask for a CIO officer?

Yes! If you find yourself in a situation where you need to call law enforcement to intervene with a person experiencing a mental health crisis, you may request a CIT officer. If someone that you care for has untreated mental health issues, and/or is at risk of mental health crisis, be proactive. Click on the “how to prepare for a crisis situation” button and get to know your local CIO officers.