Author(s): ElMallakh PL, Kiran K, ElMallakh RS
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: Police crisis intervention teams (CIT) have demonstrated their effectiveness in reducing injury to law enforcement personnel and citizens and the criminalization of mental illness; however, their financial effect has not been fully investigated. The objective of the study was to determine the total costs or total savings associated with implementing a CIT program in a medium-size city. METHODS: The costs and savings associated with the implementation of a CIT program were analyzed in a medium-size city, Louisville, Kentucky, 9 years after the program's initiation. Costs associated with officer training, increased emergency psychiatry visits, and hospital admissions resulting from CIT activity were compared with the savings associated with diverted hospitalizations and reduced legal bookings. RESULTS: Based on an average of 2400 CIT calls annually, the overall costs associated with CIT per year were $2,430,128 ($146,079 for officer training, $1,768,536 for hospitalizations of patients brought in by CIT officers, $508,690 for emergency psychiatry evaluations, and $6823 for arrests). The annual savings of the CIT were $3,455,025 ($1,148,400 in deferred hospitalizations, $2,296,800 in reduced inpatient referrals from jail, and $9825 in avoided bookings and jail time). The balance is $1,024,897 in annual cost savings. CONCLUSIONS: The net financial effect of a CIT program is of modest benefit; however, much of this analysis was based on estimates and average length of stay. Furthermore, the costs and savings associated with officer or citizen injuries were not included because there was inadequate information about their prevalence and costs. Finally, this analysis does not take into account the nonmonetary gains of a CIT program.
This article was published in South Med J
and referenced in Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education