Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Grace Telesco


In 2009, the Commonwealth of Virginia passed Senate Bill (SB) 1294 that directly involved the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services in the spread of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program statewide. The purpose of this mixed-method study was to explore how the passage of SB 1294 affected the level of stakeholder cooperation within Virginia’s statewide CIT program, through 11 interviews with Virginian CIT leaders and by the completion of 115 questionnaires by CIT members in a region of central Virginia. Findings indicated the most common way that SB 1294 affected CIT cooperation was that it provided increased funding for much needed programs such as mental assessment centers and that the best way to achieve and maintain cooperation was through regular meetings and communication between stakeholders. The most common participant response to the questionnaire statements was an agreement that cooperative CIT practices were being performed. However, many of the participants did not know enough about some of the practices that were affected by SB 1294 to respond. A paired samples T test indicated there was a significant difference between how participants answered questionnaire statements that included cooperative CIT practices influenced by SB 1294 and those that included general cooperative CIT practices. Findings suggest that communities interested in having a successful CIT program must be willing to communicate, compromise, share resources, start small, map their mental health crisis system, respect all stakeholder perspectives, and develop a plan that could be put into practice right away but can be allowed to evolve as circumstances change.