A Rural Two-County CIT Program Study

Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Healthcare Administration (DHA)

Committee Chair

Gail Frankle

Committee Member

Jesse Florang

Committee Member

Dail Fields


The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program is a partnership of law enforcement agencies, the behavioral healthcare system, emergency departments (EDs), advocacy groups, and other stakeholders in a geographic region. People in the community who experience a crisis related to a behavioral health (BH) condition often encounter police officers, and the CIT program offers guidance on the safe handling of those situations that ideally ends with a connection to treatment. In the United States, crisis BH resources are often unavailable, and it is common for officers to resolve the situation by initiating an ED visit, which is not associated with positive health outcomes for the patient. The aim of this study is to test the implications of Structural Functional Theory (SFT) in one CIT program. SFT suggests that imbalanced systems lead to the inappropriate reliance on other systems. The analysis of crisis events may provide insight into potential BH system improvements that align with the goals of the CIT program. One research question aims to find predictors of each disposition option available to LE officers in the CIT program. Findings in this study are drawn from the quantitative analysis of 594 CIT encounters over a 3-year period. The results of the multinomial logistic regression models indicate that adolescents and young adults experience suicide-related crises more often than other types of crises, and the most likely outcome is an ED visit. Findings suggest that the local system could benefit from improvements in BH resources, especially in crisis situations.