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Crisis Intervention Team (CIT)
About the Program
Contact
Major John Fraga
Administrative/Technical Services, Division Commander

Sgt. Linda Cerniglia
CIT Law Enforcement Coordinator

803 Sycolin Road
Leesburg, VA  20175

Ph: 703-777-0407

Hours
Monday - Friday
8:30 am - 5:00 pm

The Loudoun Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is designed to protect the safety, dignity and rights of persons suffering mental health issues and protect the community from potentially dangerous behavior.  CIT deputies have specialized training in recognizing signs and symptoms of persons experiencing a behavioral crisis, while maintaining officer and public safety.

The Loudoun CIT training was recently featured in the September 2014 edition of Police Chief Magazine focusing on mental health's impact on policing. 

To date, the Loudoun CIT Program has trained 100 percent of the LCSO and Leesburg Police Department Emergency Communications Center (ECC) personnel. It is mandatory for all ECC personnel to be trained in CIT as they are usually the initial point of contact for consumers (patients) and their families.

Loudoun CIT has trained (approximately) LCSO deputies and several Leesburg and Purcellville Police Officers to respond to people in crisis. 

Adult Detention Center (ADC) personnel are trained in CIT with the first ADC training held in 2015.

Thus far, all CIT training to law enforcement has been on a voluntary basis.

The goals of CIT is to promote positive interactions between law enforcement and persons in crisis, prevent inappropriate restraint, incarceration and stigmatization of persons with mental illness, reduce injuries to deputies and persons suffering from mental illness as well as their families. It is also to link individuals and their families to appropriate treatment and resources in the Loudoun County Community.

Overview


In 2012, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, the Town of Leesburg Police Department and Loudoun County Mental Health Emergency Services, hosted the first-ever Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training in Loudoun County. The collaborative program joined the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office; the Leesburg Police Department; Loudoun County Mental Health Emergency Services; Friends of Loudoun Mental Health; the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Northern Virginia; and Inova Loudoun Hospital Center in an effort to allow mentally ill persons to receive necessary treatment to become stabilized and work toward recovery. Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman helped facilitate this joint effort and bring crisis intervention training (CIT) to the County after assessing the frequency of incidents involving mental illness, both in the community and within the Adult Detention Center (ADC).

Training

The training helped prepare law enforcement officers and emergency dispatchers to calmly and effectively communicate with citizens experiencing a behavioral crisis. Additionally, the training included intervention techniques for deputies or officers responding to scenes for a person who may be suicidal.

The training includes classroom instruction and role play exercises which enable law enforcement personnel to gain a better understanding of the experience of living with serious mental illnesses. It was taught by Loudoun certified CIT Sheriff’s Deputies, Leesburg Police Department, mental health professionals and other experts within the field. During the 40-hour training, students are introduced to social, psychological and legal aspects associated with mental illness, as well as Aspergers, Autism, and the Wounded Warrior Program.
 
Testimonials

I received a call from a Sheriff's Deputy earlier in my shift wanting to consult on a case he was working with. In listening to him talk, I could hear how he had the client’s mental health in his best interest. Even when talking about any legal repercussions, he talked about how he knows that these issues are most likely due to his mental health. He talked about what he had recently learned in the training he had just received in CIT and how he wanted to apply those techniques. After consulting for a little while, the client was placed under an ECO which resulted in a TDO. The Deputy was a pleasure to work with and he was incredibly patient with the client and the entire process. It was great working alongside a Deputy who had an understanding of mental health and the process/procedures of our system.

He is the second Deputy I have worked alongside who is part of CIT and both have been wonderful! This is such a wonderful program and I just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the work that CIT puts in.

Leesburg- Doctor of Psychology, Psy,D.


Dear Sheriff Chapman,

We have already submitted compliment forms for two Sheriff's Deputies, but I wanted to send you a separate note.

Where do you find these guys? All of the Loudoun County Sheriff Deputies with whom I have come into contact recently have been outstanding professionals.

One Deputy, in particular, was extremely helpful because of his recent training with the mental health process. Thank you for sending your officers to this training. Never in my worst nightmares would I have thought I would have to deal with these problems within my own family. It is very difficult to explain what is happening and the reasons for such bizarre behavior from a loved one. The training that you have provided to your Deputies made it much easier to explain the situation to them while we were under tremendous stress. Your Deputy quickly grasped what was happening, and he was able to provide us calm guidance that reassured us. He then took deliberate and swift action to defuse and resolve the situation.

As I mentioned on the Compliment Form, the Deputy not only stayed late on that Saturday so that he could make sure our (family member) was receiving the proper treatment and to brief us, but he also came in on his day off. We really appreciated him sacrificing precious time with his wife and children so that our (family member) might be better helped. 

The Deputy was a flat-out professional - calm, helpful and compassionate. His very presence on that day helped calm my wife. Heck, even the Deputy that was standing guard in our hearing at LAMPS was a sharp young man. We don't recall his name, but we had a chance to talk and he was also great. At one point, prior to the hearing, one of the patients in the hospital there became violent and was yelling and screaming. Your Deputies responded out of caution and, had it been necessary, they would have helped out. Their professional concern was obvious.

Frankly, my goal is to have things improve for our (family member) so that I can stop sending you notes that rave about the quality of your officers. However, they were of immense help during a time of overwhelming stress, and we are proud to live in a County with such a professional law enforcement presence. Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Resident- Sterling, VA