Welcome

Crisis Respite Team

Welcome to the online home of Communities for Crisis Intervention Teams (CCIT-NYC). If you’d like to share this website with others, the web address is: http://www.ccitnyc.org.

CIT Press Conference

Our Aim

CCIT-NYC seeks to improve police responses to 911 calls involving individuals with mental health concerns – often referred to as “Emotionally Disturbed Person” (EDP) calls. (The NYPD gets more than 100,000 EDP calls per year.)

By establishing a new community-police approach to EDP calls, we hope to divert mental health recipients away from the criminal justice system, and thereby avoid traumatic encounters and injuries to police and mental health recipients.

Current State of Affairs

At present, the NYPD are insufficiently prepared to deal effectively with 911 calls involving individuals with mental health concerns – often resulting in traumatizing and sometimes tragic encounters between the police and individuals experiencing emotional distress.

Shereese Francis

In 2012, the family of 30 year-old Shereese Francis called for an ambulance as she was showing signs of emotional distress. When the police arrived on the scene, they chased Shereese around her home, amplifying her distress. Instead of de-escalating the situation, four police officers finally laid on top of Shereese in an attempt to subdue her, and she died.

Dustin

NYPD police beat Dustin so badly they broke his nose and injured his eyes. The 23 year-old was waiting with police because his family had called for an ambulance when he was in emotional distress. There was no claim he was holding a weapon or being threatening.

Change for the Better

Statistics show that a large percentage of the calls fielded by the NYPD involve a person facing an emotional crisis. By recognizing the challenges and realities of this fact, we can make our streets safer for people with mental illnesses and for the police officers who respond to their calls.

Crisis Intervention Teams are vital to reversing the trend of criminalizing people in crisis and depriving them of the human rights that they deserve. Instead of being incarcerated, people in crisis need treatment, housing, respite, and support in order to recover and live to their potential.

We believe that a successful plan to address issues regarding the policing of people in crisis depends on a multi-part program and the successful cooperation between many different entities: the NYPD and the community; the courts and activists; mental health consumers and healthcare providers.

CCIT-NYC is committed to a citywide approach. Real change will only be achieved when a program is up-and-running 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in all five boroughs, and accessible to every New York City resident. Our plan for such change consists of three parts:

1. Community Crisis Intervention Teams

Our proposal calls for a pilot project establishing at least one specially trained Crisis Intervention Team in every borough. These teams would operate out of existing facilities and be ready 24 hours a day to respond to calls involving mental health crisis.

2. Training

Training police officers to respond more effectively to mental health recipients in crisis will result in the successful de-escalation of more EDP calls, and will therefore empower the NYPD to more efficiently deploy their time and resources while maintaining better community relations.

3. Oversight/Development Committee

In a city as large and complicated as New York City, it is imperative that a committee be formed to ensure that consistency is maintained across the precincts, and that best practices are effectively identified and shared. Such a committee would also be responsible for directing and vetting training programs, hiring, and compliance.

The Communities for Crisis Intervention Team will call for a model that works in NYC through the introduction of a NYC Council resolution and NYS legislation. See the Proposals section of this website for more info.

Who We Are

We are a coalition of activists, advocates, and other community and non-profit members working to promote human rights, dignity and safety for people in New York City who come in contact with the NYPD.

How You Can Get Involved

(1) Please join with over 22 organizations on Wednesday, September 25, at noon, on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan as we call for needed change. Visit the Events section of this website to find out more.

(2) We are also seeking organizations to join our campaign. Join Nami Metro NYC, 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement, Community Access, and others as we advocate for Crisis Intervention Teams in NYC.

For more info, please contact:

Carla Rabinowitz
Community Organizer, Community Access
(212) 780-1400, ext. 7726
crabinowitz@communityaccess.org