CIT National Organization Created
Contributor: Ron Honberg
This month, the national CIT Advisory Group met in Atlanta and took the first steps toward the creation of a national organization dedicated to the promotion of CIT. The group is applying for non-profit status for a new organization, which will be called "CIT International," in recognition of the existence of CIT programs in Australia, Canada and Europe.
The following individuals were elected as officers of the new organization.
Lt. Michael Woody (retired), Law Enforcement Liaison for the Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence, will be President.
Michele Saunders, Executive Director of Florida Partners in Crisis, will be the 1st Vice President.
Joseph Mucenski of Tucson, Arizona, who currently serves on the NAMI Board of Directors, will be 2nd Vice President.
Victoria Cochran, JD, coordinator of the New River Valley, VA CIT program, will be the Secretary.
Jim Dailey of Louisville, Kentucky who also serves on NAMI’s Board of Directors will be treasurer.
Last but not last, Major Sam Cochran and Randy Dupont, Ph.D, the pioneers and for many years the driving forces behind Memphis’ nationally recognized CIT program, will serve as Co-Chairs of the new organization.
As CIT programs continue to proliferate nationally, one immediate priority for the new organization will be developing standards for these programs. As Major Cochran has always emphasized, true CIT programs are “more than just training.” They are collaborations between law enforcement, mental health systems, consumers, families and advocates to establish humane alternatives to arrest and incarceration for individuals who are in crisis and in need to treatment and supports, not punishment. Although law enforcement training is laudable and very important, training in and of itself is not enough to facilitate these positive outcomes.
NAMI supports the development of CIT International. Of prime importance to NAMI members is the role that NAMI will continue to play in promoting and implementing CIT around the country. Local NAMI affiliates and state organizations will continue as they always have – being key partners in hundreds of communities, providing a consumer and family voice. NAMI looks forward to working closely with CIT International on continuing the development of CIT as a truly international model.