Journal of Social Change


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 field encounters with persons with mental illnesses. The purpose of the study was to explore the lived experiences of officers among CIT-trained police officers to address the problem. The protection motivation theory was aligned closest with the teachings of CIT training as described by the study participants’ lived experiences. Participants provided the study’s collected data, which was composed of completed questionnaires and transcribed interviews. The empirical theoretical framework 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. Frustration was experienced by officers who applied the protection motivation theory to ensure the well-being of persons experiencing a mental crisis. There was considerable pushback from the public mental health facilities, which added to the frustration experienced by CIT-trained police officers who attempted to navigate treatment with the limited resources available to help persons in mental crisis. The positive social change produced from this study included recommendations to police leadership and mental health advocates to encourage certain CIT-training-related practices that directly impact CIT field encounters with persons in mental crises. Specialized training may promote improved departmental outcomes such as sustainability of gains for those in crises and enable police officer accountability and reliability.