Updated: Feb 1
Law Enforcement uniforms may seem mysterious to non-law enforcement. Everything on a law enforcement officer's uniform should be there with departmental blessing and be worn as prescribed by agency policy. My own agency has held strongly to the traditional uniform. Mine is a dark navy wool blend with patches on either sleeve indicating the agency I work for, collar brass (bars) on each collar to signify my rank within the agency, a star (signifying Sheriff as opposed to municipal Police Officer), a nameplate, a ribbon indicating I've received a Medal of Valor (only worn for more formal occasions), and a CIT Pin. I choose to forego sewing stripes on my lower sleeve that would indicate my years of service (a gold hash for every 5 years and blue for every 1 at my agency).
What I'd like to draw your attention to here the pin with the letters CIT. While most of the pins, stripes, bars, rockers, ribbons, etc. are not really expected to mean much to civilians, the CIT Pin is different. It is worn especially for civilians. It is there to let you know that the officer or deputy you're dealing with is a specialist. He or she has received advanced training to provide the most appropriate and compassionate response safely possible when you or a loved one is in a mental health crisis.
CIT Officers wear this pin proudly for you. Each CIT Program designs their own pin but they'll all have the letters CIT. When you see an officer wearing such a pin, I encourage you to thank them. Thank them for volunteering to go through the rigorous training to become a CIT Officer. These are officers who did not go into police work expecting to do many of the things we find ourselves doing in modern-day law enforcement, but they saw a need and they stepped up to learn how to best meet that need.