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Investigative Reports

Federal monitor praises SPD board that reviews use of force
November 24, 2015 

As a result, the department is in “initial compliance” with key provisions of a 2012 consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department to address excessive force, the monitor, Merrick Bobb, wrote in the report.

The Seattle Police Monitor's Second Systemic Assessment regarding the Force Review Board
filed 11/24/15   See report


Philadelphia - March 23, 2015   U.S. Department of Justice Community Oriented Police Service releases report on Philadelphia Police Department's use of deadly force

COPS Office releases 48 findings and 91 recommendations to implement best practices at the Philadelphia Police Department

PHILADELPHIA - The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services today announced the release of its initial report on the Philadelphia Police Department’s use of deadly force policies and practices.

In 2013, in response to an increase in officer-involved shootings, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey requested technical assistance from the COPS Office. Launched in November 2013, the Collaborative Reform Initiative in Philadelphia focuses on the use of deadly force over a seven-year period.

COPS Report...

Findings of DOJ/COP on Philadelphia Police Department in part: 

2015 Finding: The PPD requires officers to complete crisis intervention training (CIT) in order to obtain an electronic control weapon (ECW). This requirement conflates the two tactical approaches and limits the distribution of less-lethal tools throughout the department (Finding 8). 
Recommendation: The PPD should decouple ECWs and CIT both conceptually and operationally (recommendation 8.1).
Recommendation: ECWs should be standard-issue weapons for all PPD officers assigned to uniformed enforcement units (recommendation 8.2).

Recommendation: All PPD officers in uniformed enforcement units should be required to carry ECWs on their duty belts at all times (recommendation 8.3). 
(Go to Page #39 of Report)
(Go to Page #47 of Report)
(Go to Page #48 & #49 of Report)

CIT is an invaluable resource for law enforcement with much merit. It serves neither the CIT program nor the officers to strongly link CIT and ECWs in the PPD’s operational planning. We encourage the PPD to continue to develop CIT skills in its officers and the department. However, training modules in ECWs and CIT should be distinct and not presented as complimentary.

The PPD does not require CIT officers to carry their ECW on their duty belt at all times. Some department personnel noted that officers with crisis intervention training do not carry ECWs because they prefer to use their verbal skills. Others noted that even when required to carry them, officers would occasionally leave them in their vehicles rather than carry them on their duty belt. They didn’t like the bulkiness of the weapon or didn’t see its value as a less-lethal option.

Being armed with an ECW does not better prepare an officer to manage an encounter with someone in mental crisis. It should remain the policy of the PPD that CIT officers be dispatched to calls for service involving persons in a state of excited delirium or mental crisis. The PPD should also track and monitor CIT calls and evaluate the effect of CIT on critical incident response.

For some PPD recruits, de-escalation training has amounted to little more than lectures and observations. 
The PPD officers we spoke with mostly recognized and appreciated the value of de-escalation training and practice in the field. Many wanted more of it. Recruit graduates wanted more scenarios and less observation. For example, although many of the scenarios involve student participation, not all students participate due to time restrictions, class size, or unwillingness of some recruits to volunteer. Scenarios were frequently cited as the most beneficial training, and academy and FTU evaluations indicated that recruits wanted more of them.

The PPD should revamp its academy de-escalation training, ensuring that recruits receive more hours of scenario training, which allows each recruit to exercise and be evaluated on verbal de-escalation skills.

Lecturing on the importance of de-escalation is not enough. Recruits should be given the opportunity to practice those skills. The PPD should ensure that every recruit participates in at least three scenarios that enable them to exercise and be evaluated on verbal de-escalation skills. In 2014, the PPD academy staff developed vehicle investigation scenario is a good example of how de-escalation can be incorporated into scenario training and combined with other learning goals.

Traditionally, de-escalation is discussed in terms of verbal persuasion tactics to use with subjects who are in an agitated state due to, say, a limited mental capacity, the influence of drugs or alcohol, or a temporary emotional crisis. Another way for the officer to slow down the action is to create distance (if possible), set a perimeter, request additional resources (e.g., less-lethal weapon, supervisor, crisis intervention team), and continually reassess whether they need to be in that situation (i.e., whether there is any threat and whether any laws have been broken). These actions can reduce the likelihood that officers will place themselves in a position of peril and therefore use deadly force unnecessarily. The PPD should include these methods in their lectures, discussions, and scenario training related to de-escalation. 
(See Page #79 – CIT)

• De-escalation. Officers should be exposed to scenarios that allow them to exercise verbal persuasion and interpersonal communication skills with an agitated suspect. 
It is critical that the department include scenarios that are not intended to be resolved using deadly force. In addition, all training scenarios should be carefully vetted against department policy to ensure that they do not conflict with one another.

The PPD does not have a recertification program for CIT. 
Officers who were interviewed consistently lauded the CIT as some of the most valuable training they received during their time with the PPD, citing the verbal skills learned as helping diffuse crisis situations. Nearly half of the PPD’s patrol officers have completed the training—far more than the widely used standard of 25 percent. However, the department does not have a recertification requirement or process in place. Officers receive the training just once.
The PPD should create a periodic recertification training program for CIT officers.
At least every 3 years requirement – scenario –based (Page #85)


Consent Decree regarding New Orleans PD 
Third Quarterly Report of 2014

Consent Decree Monitor

See pages 18 and 19 - March 16, 2011


United States Department of Justice

Investigation of the Cleveland Division of Police  December 4, 2014  

Civil Rights Division
United States Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Ohio   

View Report

(see pages 52,54)


U.S. Department of Justice: Albuquerque Police Department  April 10, 2014

Civil Investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department

This "investigation focused on allegations of use of excessive force by APD officers under the Violent Crime Control and Law
Enforcement Act of 1994, 42 U.S.C. ยง 14141 (“Section 14141”). Section 14141 makes it
unlawful for government entities, such as the City of Albuquerque and APD, to engage in a
pattern or practice of conduct by law enforcement officers that deprives individuals of rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States. The
investigation was conducted jointly by the Civil Rights Division and the United States
Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico."



U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division

Investigation of the Portland (OR) Police (2012)


Seattle Police Monitor | Fourth Semiannual Report | December 2014    see pages 76 - 81 

The Consent Decree with which SPD is currently working to comply resulted from a 2011 investigation
of the Department by the United States Department of Justice. That investigation found: (1) “a pattern
or practice of constitutional violations regarding the use of force”; and (2) “serious concerns about biased

This Fourth Semiannual Report takes in turn each of these major substantive areas—use of force and
discriminatory policing—describing in detail the Department’s progress in making the policy, training,
procedural, structural, and cultural changes that it must to address the core concerns of the Consent
Decree which 
found that SPD engaged in a “pattern or practice of using unnecessary of excessive force.”

The investigation identified “deficiencies” in SPD’s training, policies, oversight, and supervision.

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