Program Details

Crisis Team

The Oxnard Police Department Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training program is based upon the San Jose CIT Academy that was developed two years ago based upon the “Memphis Model.”

The CIT Academy is a 40-hour course intended for police officers. Mental health experts primarily teach it on a volunteer basis with input from law enforcement.

After attending the San Jose CIT Academy, the Oxnard Police Department worked with the Ventura County Behavioral Health, the Ventura Police Department, and the Ventura Sheriff’s Department to create a countywide Crisis Intervention Team Academy.

This is one of the first CIT Academies run on a multi-jurisdictional basis. The first CIT Academy was conducted in December 2001. It was open to all police agencies in our county. Eight of our patrol officers were able to attend. These officers make up our current Crisis Intervention Team. The officers are evenly spread out by time-of-day and day-of-week to get the best coverage possible for 24-hour coverage.

Course Objectives

The course objectives included:
Increase ability of officers to recognize signs of mental illness
Increase empathy of officers for the mentally ill
Increase awareness of community services
Improve crisis intervention skills
Decrease officer anxiety in dealing with the mentally ill

Over twenty different classes make up the course curriculum. A few are listed below:
Mood/Psychotic Disorders
Site Visits
Our officers went on several site visits including the County Behavioral Health Facility, private placement facilities, and board & care homes.
NAMI Panel/Exercises
We had several representatives from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. These representatives formed a panel that provided insights regarding their contacts with law enforcement.
Suicide Intervention
Cultural Sensitivity
Non-Violent Crisis Intervention
Role Playing


Since the graduation of officers and sergeants from the CIT Academy, the Oxnard Police Department has:
Established a protocol for the interaction of law enforcement and mental health professionals at calls for service involving mentally
This protocol has been signed by all of the chiefs of police as well as the director of Ventura County Behavioral Health. Outlines the circumstances for having CIT officers respond to calls. Whenever we have a mentally ill individual that is in a crisis, and a danger to himself or others, a CIT officer will respond to the scene.
Provided additional training to patrol officers at briefings
Our CIT officers now provide regular training to our officers at patrol briefings. In addition to this training, all of our patrol officers will attend an 8-hour class on “Contacts with the Mentally Ill.”

Future Plans

Future plans include:
Training more personnel
We need to train more patrol officers. In addition to the patrol officers, we want to train more supervisors, some of our school officers, some of our SWAT officers, and some of our dispatchers. We have 3 more CIT Academies scheduled for 2002, one in April, August, December. With that though, the CIT Academy is not the entire  program, it’s only the start. There are many more objectives that we have, our CIT officers are very excited about the program and we all want to enhance our training and expertise.
Ongoing training and collaboration
We will develop closer working relationships with Ventura County Behavioral Health. We want to train with the other law enforcement agencies in the county.
Identify available resources
Work closely with community groups
We want to work closely with our community advocacy groups. We are in the process of creating a CIT Community Advisory Group.
Become advocates for the mentally ill


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