APD's C.I.T. unit serves mental health need in the community

APD's C.I.T. unit serves mental health need in the community
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA
Source: KFDA

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The Amarillo Police Department's Crisis Intervention Team, C.I.T.,  is a specialized unit  made up of six officers and a sergeant who solely respond to mental health crises.

"They respond to the scene, they work with these people, get them the services that they might need," said Cpl. Jeb Hilton of the Amarillo Police Department. "Take them to the hospital, wherever else they might need to go so we can get them taken care of the proper way instead of just putting them in jail."

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While there hasn't been a recent spike in calls, APD said there has been a rise in the need for the team in the community as C.I.T. has developed over the years.

"A lot of times it comes in as the call, people are more and more aware that we have this team that goes out and deals with the special circumstances so they call and ask for them," said Cpl. Hilton. "Other times our call takers and dispatchers can distinguish between when they might  be needed and sometimes officers are on scene and they have to call for this officer to come over and handle the situation at the point."

All APD officers are state mandated to handle crisis situations.

The CIT unit has taken that training to the next level.

"Sometimes these guys have more training than what the regular officer has though, so we will call them over," said Cpl. Hilton. "They have more contact with services that we can get these people into."

Amarillo police said C.I.T is one more way that they can continue to help and serve the needs of the community.

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