The Clay County Sheriff’s Office created a dedicated CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Unit in October 2021 after identifying a need in the community. The CIT Unit conducts follow-ups with those in crisis after coming into contact with law enforcement and assists them in connecting with resources and/or services they may need. The CIT Unit also is available to respond to the scene of someone experiencing a crisis.
The CIT Unit consists of one full-time CIT Deputy, one embedded clinician from Tri-County Mental Health Services, and one Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) K9 and her handler.
Crisis Intervention Team deputies help to improve interaction between law enforcement and persons with mental illness and prevent the inappropriate restraint, incarceration, and stigmatization of persons with mental illness. CIT Deputies help reduce injury to other deputies/officers, family members and individuals in crisis, and link individuals with mental illness to appropriate treatment and resources in the community. The trained CIT deputy is skilled at de-escalating crises while bringing an element of understanding and compassion to these difficult situations.
The CIRT K9, Lola, is a black Labrador who comes from K9s for Freedom in Collinsville, Texas. Her primary responsibilities are helping those going through a difficult time and assisting local agencies in a peer support and victim advocacy role.