Background: As part of an effort to improve police interactions with mentally ill citizens, and improve mental health care delivery to subjects in acute distress, the University of Louisville, in conjunction with the Louisville Metro Police, established the crisis intervention team (CIT). CIT is composed of uniformed officers who receive extensive training in crisis intervention and psychiatric issues and who are preferentially called to investigate police calls that may involve a mentally ill individual.
Methods: In an effort to determine the characteristics of the individuals brought to the emergency psychiatric service (EPS) by CIT officers, a comparative (CIT vs. mental inquest warrant [MIW, a citizen-initiated court order to bring someone for psychiatric evaluation because of concerns regarding dangerousness] vs non-CIT/non-MIW), descriptive evaluation was performed.
Results: With the exception of a higher rate of schizophrenic subjects brought in by CIT (43.0% vs. 22.1%, non-CIT, P = .002), the demographics, diagnosis, and disposition of CIT-referred subjects were not different in any way from non-CIT patients. Subjects referred on MIWs were more likely to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital than non-MIW patients (71.6% vs. 34.8%, P < .0001), but CIT-referred hospitalization rates were not different from hospitalization rates of self-referred subjects (20.7% vs. 33.3%, ns).
Conclusions: CIT officers appear to do a good job at identifying patients in need of psychiatric care.