Pictured above: Crisis Intervention Response Team Senior Police Officer Mark Stevens and clinician partner Dr. Chris Estes.
Houston’s Crisis Intervention Response Team (CIRT) started as a six-month pilot program in March 2008. The pilot was extremely successful and the program was made permanent later that year.
CIRT is Houston’s co-responder program partnering a Houston CIT officer with a masters-level licensed professional clinician from The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD. The officer and clinician attend roll-call together and ride together in a patrol car. CIRT is our highest level response to individuals in serious mental health crises. The following are the objectives of CIRT:
- Assist officers with CIT-related calls
- Conduct pro-active and follow-up CIT investigations
- Respond to SWAT calls as a resource when available
- Handle the most serious CIT calls
CIRT units ride citywide with the sole responsibility of responding to CIT-related calls; they are not in the calls-for-service loop.
Number of Units
Houston has 12 full-time units. To our knowledge, Houston has the largest co-responder program with the officer and clinician riding together as partners of any single police department in the nation.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office Collaboration
A historic collaboration occurred in October 2011, when a joint Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) / Houston Police Department (HPD) Crisis Intervention Response Team (CIRT) was formed that serves the entire Houston/Harris County region. The interlocal agreement was approved by both the Harris County Commissioner’s Court and the Houston City Council, and it allowed the HCSO to join with the HPD / The Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD’s CIRT program.
The joint effort is one of the best examples of the collaborative effort with the Houston Police Department and other law enforcement/mental health organizations in Houston/Harris County.