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.
By Carla Rabinowitz,Project Coordinator

Welcome to the website of Communities for Crisis Intervention Teams in New York City ccit nyc

We await the response of the NYPD to the NYC Office of Inspector General Report. NYPD answer to the OIG Report is expected this week.
In the meantime I thought readers might be interested in an article from an attorney who works in the field and is continuing the Bah family’s lawsuit against the NYPD and NYC for a police encounter many years ago before the NYPD started their great CIT training. Click here for Attorney Article


CCITNYC is questioning the NYPD reports that 5,000 plus officers have been trained. NYPD has only started training since June 2015. NYPD admits they only conducted 67 classes. Visual observation shows only 30 officers in a class. That would mean only 2,010 officers have been trained. NYPD told coalition thru a third party that the others trained were recruits. But  90 people are in a recruit class. And recruits are not even officers. They are training to be officers.So chances of getting them to talk honestly about mental health is much reduced. Further , this recruit class lacked many of the needed elements of NYPD’s CIT training.

On a side note, the actual 30 person CIT officer training keeps getting better. The trainers have taken ownership of CIT and their hard work understanding mental illness shows. The trainers intersperse police talk and an explanation of how mental illness is in NYPD family. Goal is for officers to stop seeing mentally ill people as others. And the training works. We just need more officers trained in this smaller CIT class where myths and stereotypes can be explored and all elements of CIT class are included.

NYPD Department of Investigation’s Office of Inspector General issued a report on NYC’s CIT progress, pitfalls and the work that still needs to be done.
The report fails to mention one critical area still not addressed. Gothamist article explains how CIT can not be tackled by the NYPD alone. We need coordination of all aspects of CIT from the Mayor’s office.
Click here for Gothamist Article on OIG report

Community Access, the agency that leads the CCITNYC coalition in our push for improvements to the CIT program, has issued a media statement.

Response to Latest Fatal Shooting of a Person in an Emotionally Crisis

(New York, NY) – Community Access issued the following statement in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of a 63-year old Brooklyn man experiencing emotional distress on the night of January 3, 2017:

“Community Access recognizes the good faith efforts by the New York Police Department (NYPD) to implement Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training for the mutual benefit of the NYPD and community members. Unfortunately, recent deaths involving the NYPD and emotionally disturbed persons (EDPs), prove that further work is necessary to build a better integrated and more comprehensive CIT response system.”

Community Access has called on the NYPD to hold an emergency meeting of the Mayor’s CIT Task Force and the Crisis Intervention Teams Coalition of New York (CCITNY).

In a letter sent to the NYPD last month, the CCITNY coalition specifically asked for:

  • Prompt changes to the 911 system to ensure that incoming calls involving a person in crisis are routed to CIT trained officers, so that the newly trained CIT officers respond to EDP calls
  • A timeframe for when the NYPD will reach their goal of training 10,000 officers of the NYPD patrol force in CIT and a detailed update on where CIT trained officers are currently deployed.
  • A proposal to train a total of 15,000 NYPD officers.
  • In the interim, Emergency Services Unit (ESU) officers should receive the updated CIT training that focuses on compassion and stigma reduction. The updated ESU training should include a panel of people living with mental illness.

We are still devastated at the death of Deborah Danner and others from the mental health community this year in police encounters.

But there is some good news. Below find an instance where CIT training worked. If only we could get more newly trained CIT officers to these encounters. And get more officers trained.
Click here for article CIT works

Monday, November 14 our coalition called for changes in NYPD’s CIT program and an increase in CIT trained officers in
light of recent tragic deaths. Many mental health advocates attended to show concern.
Below find one of many media articles covering our event.
CLick here for Crains article on recent tragedies

Recent killing of well known mental health recipient highlights the problem of routing edp calls to limited number of Emergency Service Unit of NYPD.
Please visit site for soon to come vigil and press conference asking that the newly trained CIT officers be the ones to respond to edp calls.
Nothing can take away the sorrow of family and friends of Deborah Danner. But at least the NYPD and mayor understand that they failed in the way Deborah was responded to.
Click here for Daily news article on recent killing.

NYPD has been moving in the right direction in terms of CIT training.
But a cause for concern can be found in this Newsday article.
Article reveals that NYPD is looking into ways to monitor people with mental health concerns
even when there are no grounds for warrant or arrest.
Though the issue of terrorism is very real. Do we really want to allow NYPD or FBI to monitor
everyone with a mental health concern without affording people constitutional rights to privacy.
Click here for Newsday article on monitoring people with mental health concerns

Daily News runs article from NYPD officer who praises the CIT training he received. This officer used the CIT training to save a man’s life.
How many more lives could be saved if the NYPD extends training of officers to 10,000.
I sat in on this training early this month. Much improved. This article proves how the NYPD’s CIT training will save lives.
Click here for article NYPD officer praises CIT training in NYC.

The Village Voice contains a great article about the problems with people in distress and the criminal justice system. The article follows what happens when police and criminal justice system do not recognize that people in distress need empathy and a different policing approach. Thankfully NYPD is continuing to train officers in CIT to get to a kindler gentler policing strategy for people in distress. But that was not the case three years ago. And this article follows the fallout from that Times Square police shooting.
Click here for article on Times Square shooting three years later.

(7/1/2016) NYPD wants your views on the use of body cameras. NYPD is starting a pilot project using body cameras and wants feedback.
Please complete survey below.
Click here for NYPD survey.

(5/2016) Great coverage of the alarming use of body bags by NYPD recently. NYPD are using body bags to restrain people in mental health crisis. This is in stark contrast to the good work NYPD is doing on de-escalation, CIT.

Anyone impacted by NYPD body bag use is asked to contact our coalition, crabinowitz@communityaccess.org or 212-780-1400 x7726

Click here for New York Times article.

(4/2016) A step back for police mental health community relations, as NYPD is now using body bags for encounters with those with mental health concerns. .

With training continuing for NYPD, we are now still waiting for the city to build diversion or drop off centers to take people in distress.
Read this article about a diversion center called a restoration center in San Antonio
Click here for a diversion center opened in San Antonio

WNYC was given access to NYPD’s CIT training. Video shows excerpts of the current NYPD training.
Click here for in depth view of current NYPD CIT training

One life has already been saved by the NYPD’s new 32 hour CIT training. An officer who sat thru the NYPD training saved a life with compassion as he learned in NYC’s CIT training.
Click here for life saved thru CIT training

As we learn of shootings of those with mental illness in other cities, we should feel proud that here in NYC, the NYPD is carrying through with their promise to train officers in 32 hours of Crisis Intervention Team training. Watch this video that outlines the training, what it is, how it is working.
Click here for video on details on NYC police CIT training

NYC is spending a large sum of money to research the effectiveness of a multi million CIT like training/Mental Health First Aid for non profits. Will the city commit money to research the effectiveness of its CIT program training for NYPD officers? Research on NYPD’s CIT training will ensure that this sea changing program gets the funding levels we need in the future to transform how police respond to those in emotional health distress.
Click here for article on research about CIT like training for non profits

Interesting article on police relations with communities in general. Great data at end of article about effectiveness of Dade County’s CIT program.
Click here for Report on effectiveness of CIT program

Inspector General overseeing NYPD issues report asserting use of force cases of NYPD are not properly disciplined.
Fortunately report echoes CCITNYC’s desire to train more police in de-escalation. With more training of police officers
in Crisis Intervention Team training officers will get the new tools they need to approach mental health recipients
in a new way without the need to use force.
Click here for Inspector General Report

Great photo of first class of NYPD officers that completed the NYPD’s 36 hour training. So far 400 officers have been trained. Police Commissioner Bratton promises another 5,000 to 9,500 will be trained in regions from around the city. Possible Times Square next. There is a lot of work to be done in police mental health community relations, a lot. But let’s applaud these first group of officers who will start to usher in a new kinder police force.
Now we must push for Diversion centers where police can quickly drop off people in distress.
Click here for picture of first round of CIT trained officers

Great article on the wonderful work NYPD is doing in training a portion of officers in Harlem in a full 36 hour CIT program, including peer involvement. Now we must stay vigilant to ensure NYPD trains as many officers as possible in CIT including the cadets.
We also need to let Mayor and city council know that we need drop off centers, diversion centers where police can take people in extreme crisis. Many recipients fear hospitals and police need a quick turn over time or the whole CIT process will not work.
Click here for article on NYPD training

Mayor announces new hub where police and clinicians will respond to the needs of those who are in shelters or homeless and engage in violent behavior.
This is part of the Mayor’s plan to reduce arrests and imprisonment of those with mental health concerns.
Click here for article on Mayor’s new hub

Another instance where CIT training would have de-escalated a situation. A woman explained her brother who shouted in a theatre lives with mental illness. She pleaded to treat her brother with compassion due to his mental illness. Police responded in the typical command and control approach that just does not work for mental health recipients.

Click here for NY Post article about man who shouted superman in theatre

Police across the nation shoot 462 people in the first 6 months of 2015. More shootings than any year ever. Need for CIT training noted in this article and across the web. Fortunately NYPD is starting to train 5,000 officers in two areas in NYC.
Click here to read about it

Great article in the Washington Post about the increasing numbers of mental health recipients killed in edp encounters with police in 2015. In the first 6 months of 2015, one mental health recipient was killed every 36 hours across this nation in an edp encounter with police. The Washington Post is collecting incidents where mental health recipients have been shot by police. Please go to end of article for email address to send information. If you know of a police shooting of a mental health recipient in nyc please contact ccitnyc at crabinowitz@communityaccess.org
Click here to read the Washington Post article

Starting June 8, NYPD will train their first class of 30 officers for 36 hours on Crisis Intervention, how to de-escalate encounters with people in mental health crisis. The training will run for 4 days at the new police training center. A few of us from CCIT NYC will sit in and observe the training. Wow. What a sea change. Read article below for why this training is so needed. Yet another death occurred in May 2015. This training is too late for the Reyes family, but will help prevent future tragedies, and will give police new tools that they need to avoid injuries in these edp encounters. Let’s hope the officers accept the training.
Click here to read about New Police training in NYPD and another NYPD incident May 2015

Click here to read April 27, 2015 incident highlighting need for Crisis Intervention Team training

The United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to Police encounters
Will the United States mandate CIT training? Click here for Epoch Times Article

Let’s celebrate a big win! Mayor Deblasio issued a report agreeing to spend $130 million for criminal justice reform including creating two assessment centers and training 5,000 to 5,500 officers
How Mayor embraced coalition’s goals

Read how the papers talk about Mayor’s new promise to create police training in NYC
Papers discuss Mayor’s Report
By Carla Rabinowitz, Project Coordinator

Great article in The Nation highlighting the CCIT NYC coalition and the need for a CIT in NYC.
The Nation article click here
To read other articles on the need for CITs and view statements from our last press conference go to Blog page.

To find our list of endorsers, go to Join Our Endorsers page
We are honored to welcome a new endorser, the Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, local 1180. Thank you CWA 1180
On behalf of the family of Mohamed Bah, we request your presence at the a memorial vigil on the 2nd year anniversary of his death at the hands of the NYPD.


Our Albany press conference brought immediate results:

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York’s new budget allots $400,000 for a pilot program to train police officers in dealing with the mentally ill.

Mental health advocates proposed the training to help officers assess and de-escalate confrontations when called to incidents involving psychologically troubled people.

The so-called Crisis Intervention Team model is already used in some form by 2,700 jurisdictions nationwide.

It teams police officers with mental health professionals.

The program includes guidance for 911 dispatchers on gathering information on mental health and addiction issues.

It also includes 40 hours of training for patrol officers on topics like maintaining a safety zone while assessing the situation and avoiding the temptation to immediately answer a crisis with force.

CIT Press ReleaseA crucial moment in the Campaign to Launch NYC Crisis Intervention Teams. CLICK + SHARE this press release for further info.

(And view press conference photo album here.)


Senator Parker Video:

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.


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 35 organizations calling for a Crisis Intervention Team in NYC. 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

Breaking news…

Senator Kevin Parker has just introduced bill number S6365 to create Crisis Intervention Teams in NYC.

Read our blog…

Rexford Dasrath died in a NYC police encounter in November 2013. He was only 22 years old. The death occurred on 902 Hart Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (Read more>>)

9 Responses to Welcome

  1. This is such important work to do. Thank you.

  2. As a public administrator in a small nonprofit that deals with the collateral damage caused by government mishandling and the lack of social caring for those with mental health issues I support your efforts and all those that seek to change systems that fail to use logic over stupidity. Crisis Intervention Teams are the way to go if government is going to respond and address the needs of this community.
    Unfortunately we cannot send someone at this time to attend and help however we will help spread the word.
    Yours most respectfully,

    Angel Ramos
    CDC Breathing Space Inc.
    URL: http://beathingspaceny.org/

  3. Community Crisis Intervention Mobil Team Is Ideal. Please Keep Me Informed About Training. I Will Advocate And Support This Cause Even If It Means Volunteering My Service.

  4. This resolution will be the beginning of organizing people with a mental diagnosis a voice in America.All groups which are sterotyped have a voice, whether they are not being represented because of their race, religion , or sexual orientation. The mentally ill are only mentioned when an emotionally ill person is confronted by law enforcement and than new gun laws are passed taking away rights from people. We must end jails and prisons being the number one provider of psychiatric beds. We must insist on medication that works and does not cause us diabetis and weight gain and in some cases increase our anxiety and depression. We and our families must step out of the shadows of non-involvement and demand real change.

  5. I think this is a very important mission and as a Criminal Justice Practitioner and Civil Rights Activist I want to support the cause.

  6. The call for Crisis Intervention Teams to work along side the police during confrontations with people with mental disabilities is a strategy whose time has come. I hope the police department views this partnership with mental health experts, medical and social workers, and PEERS (people with psychiatric disabilities who have been trained to assist in crisis intervention) as a means to strengthen their ability to save lives.

  7. Sonia Rivera-Arango

    CITs and the police working together is a winning strategy. It’s working elsewhere and it can work in NYC as well.
    The time for implementation of this strategy is NOW.

  8. The President of the Police benevolent Association refuses to acknowledge my request for an opportunity to fully explain how CCIT would reduce violent confrontations between responding untrained police officers and the families and emotionally disturbed individuals when a call for help is placed with 911. It appears the PBA reaches out to the public when their contracts are being negotiated but fails to respond to requests to improve the system which is intended to protect our love ones.

  9. I know we can do better for the mentally ill. It is outrageous how we criminal ice these people. It is bad enough to be afflicted with mental health problems .

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