This is an example of a scenario that a CIT police officer might be confronted with
A young woman is in the mall. She has stopped taking her medication and is psychotic. She is responding to the voices in her head that are shouting things she is unable to understand. Bystanders are pointing their fingers at her and some are laughing. This increases her frustration and agitation and she starts chasing her tormentors.
The police officer who has been called, has to try to de-escalate the situation, find out the young woman’s name and decide on what action to take. But, he/she first has to disperse the crowd that has gathered to watch the fun. Crowds perplex and upset a person in this kind of situation.
It is sometimes better for the police officer not to arrest the person causing the disturbance even if he has probable cause. This officer has to make a decision fast. He notices the characteristics of mental illness that she is displaying and realizes that she is hearig voices as well.
He has to decide whether safety issues are involved or not.
He has to find out the woman’s name and does so by asking her quietly and a few time. He needs to get her to tell him something about her family and her attending psychiatrist? He needs to know whether she is on medication or not. All this takes time. Of course it is easier and faster to handcuff her and bundle her into their police car but that will not gain positive results. After all, jails are overflowing with people suffering from mental illnesses who should really be getting treatment in psychiatric hospitals or clinics.
All this takes place in a short period of time so the police officer can only do this if he has had practice using the information he learned during the C.I.T. course and the practical training courses in the field. This is only the tip of the iceberg.