Step Three: Sustain Your Efforts
The work of CIT doesn’t end once your steering committee is in place and you’ve conducted your first officer training. With the foundation for a successful program laid, your community’s CIT partners must plan for sustaining the program long-term.
Keep the momentum. Continue to meet with your steering committee and consider involving even more partners. Share feedback and address challenges as they arise. Work with your community partners to spread the word about your CIT program and educate your community about the importance of asking for a CIT officer during a crisis. Engage political leaders, updating them about the program’s achievements while advocating for better policies and funding.
Consider funding needs. Many CIT programs operate through volunteer efforts. However, some programs have sought funding to cover training costs, hire a CIT coordinator and create new mental health services. This grant resource can help you find sources of funding for CIT.
Evaluate and improve your program. Use data to evaluate your efforts. Get feedback from the community and your partners to identify any issues or areas for improvement. Your CIT program should meet the needs of your community, and if those needs change, so should your program.
Expand beyond your community. Consider reaching out to neighboring communities to help them start their own CIT program. Develop support for their program by having your community CIT champions speak to their leadership about how CIT can benefit their community. Building a strong regional or statewide network can only strengthen your CIT program.
Advocate for mental health services that help people avoid arrest. There are likely already efforts in your community or in your state, to improve the mental health system. Work with your CIT steering committee to pinpoint where services—such as housing, substance abuse treatment or crisis care--could help people avoid arrest. Leverage the relationships you built with community leaders for CIT to help advocate with county and state policy makers and elected officials. To keep up-to-date on national advocacy, join our advocacy list.