By Letheshia Husbands, Beth Broussard , Dana Hankerson-Dyson, Shaily Krishan, Janet R. Oliva, Barbara D'Orio, and Michael T. Compton
To date, the growing literature surrounding Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for law enforcement officers has lacked an examination of the 40-hour curriculum, a core component of the overarching CIT model, in terms of officers' perceptions and preferences. This study examined officers' opinions of a state-supported CIT curriculum through a self-report questionnaire administered to 252 previously CIT-trained officers. The survey collected data on the most important things learned, rankings of the three major components of the training (lectures, site visits, and de-escalation role playing), and ideas for improvement and expansion. Findings revealed a strong preference for interaction in the classroom and the gaining of directly applicable skills; officers rated role-play scenarios as the most useful and meaningful aspect of the training week. Encouragement of active learning through the application of adult education principles presents opportunities for strengthening the current curriculum to be maximally relevant to police officers. Further research into best formats for education in the law enforcement community and examination of current CIT curricula is necessary to sustain and improve this model of collaboration between law enforcement and mental health.
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