If you are in the midst of a crisis or are concerned about someone else, you can either call 911 or our non-emergency number, 352-732-9111. This call will begin the process of accessing services.


The Crisis Intervention Specialist Unit (CIS) consists of personnel trained in crisis intervention with a Master's or Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science, and at least two years work experience dealing with persons with mental illness, substance abuse or with similar human-service needs.

In addition, CIS assists deputies on calls involving domestic violence, juveniles, homeless persons, deaths, sex offenders, elder affairs, and victims of crime. Unit members provide compassionate field intervention, link services for appropriate placement and coordinated follow-ups. Additionally, CIS personnel provide safety information to the law enforcement community regarding current mental health issues.


The Victim Advocate is a grant position funded through the Attorney General’s Office. The victim advocate is designated to respond and assist victims of crime. The functions of this position include:

  • Filing of Victim’s Compensation Applications
  • Referring victims to resources that are specific to their needs
  • Providing personal advocacy in the county judicial system
  • Assisting with the filing of injunctions for protection (restraining orders)
  • On-scene crisis intervention counseling
  • Developing and discussing a safety plan with victims
  • Assisting victims with safe shelter


The CIS unit has a commitment to the community that extends beyond its direct service to individuals in need. Specialists are available to conduct workshops, briefings, and other educational programs which typically focus on topics such as suicide, domestic abuse, sexual assaults and personal safety.


CIS will assess current individual needs while identifying natural (i.e., family/friends) and professional community supports. When needed, they will also provide referrals and links to community resources. The goal will be to return the individual to a “pre-crisis” level of functioning as soon as possible. Specific services provided by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office are:

  • Seniors at Risk Assistance Program (SARA)
  • Work in Lieu of Arrest Program (WILA)
  • Extra Special Person (ESP) Program: Bracelet identification program for persons with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease


A crisis involves a disruption of a person’s normal or stable state. It occurs “when a person faces an obstacle to important life goals that is, for a time, insurmountable through the utilization of his/her customary methods of problem solving” (Caplan, 1961). When in crisis, an individual usually manifests:

  1. Emotional upset (anxiety, anger, shame);
  2. Biophysical upset (insomnia, headache, upset stomach);
  3. Cognitive disturbance (disruption in usual problem solving ability, memory loss);
  4. Behavioral changes (anger, irritability, crying).



While it is common for deputies to be dispatched to a variety of calls, these calls frequently involve an element something other than criminal activity, such as mental health, elder affairs, and family issues. As the deputy assesses and clears the scene for safety, a request for CIS is made. Upon arrival and depending upon the nature of the scene, CIS may assume responsibility for the individual, allowing the deputy to return to his/her patrol duties.

In collaboration with community service providers such as Marion County Senior Services, the Salvation Army, Interfaith, The Department of Children & Families, local hospitals, therapists, and case managers, CIS links individuals to services while developing community partnerships.