Date of Conferral
The problem addressed in this phenomenological study was the lack of documentation that supported the lived experiences of crisis intervention team (CIT) trained police officers related to their encounters with persons with mental illnesses (PwMI). The purpose of the study was to explore the lived experiences of officers among CIT-trained police officers to address the problem. Using the Giles's communication accommodation theory and Rogers's protection motivation theory (PMT), the purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of CIT-trained police officers of PwMI during CIT encounters. Rogers's PMT was aligned closest with the teachings of CIT training as described by the study's participants. Participants provided data which was comprised of completed questionnaires and transcribed interviews. The method of analysis used was a combination of inductive coding and theme analysis that established the results of this study. Key findings of the study identified a significant amount of frustration expressed in the lived experiences of the CIT-trained police officers. Pushback from the public mental health facilities helped with the frustration experienced by CIT-trained police officers who applied the fundamentals of PMT and attempted to navigate treatment with the limited resources available to help PwMI in crisis. The positive social change produced from this study includes recommendations to police leadership and mental health advocates to encourage certain CIT training-related practices that directly impact CIT field encounters with PwMI in crisis. Specialized training may promote improved departmental outcomes, assist with injury reductions, and enable police officer accountability and reliability.