KINGSTON, TN (SPECIAL TO WLAF)– Fifteen law enforcement personnel, three emergency medical service employees, and one mental health professional graduated from Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training on April 28 at the Kingston Church of Christ Family Center in Kingston. The graduates represented a wide range of departments and agencies including Anderson County EMS, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Covenant Health, Harriman Police Department, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Oak Ridge Police Department, Rhea County Sheriff’s Office, Roane County Sheriff’s Office, Rockwood Police Department, and Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services.
CIT is an innovative first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention with community, health care, and advocacy partnerships. CIT provides 40 hours of specialized training for problem solving and de-escalating crisis situations with individuals who have a mental illness. Studies show it also improves the safety of patrol officers, mental health consumers, family members, and citizens within the community.
The East Tennessee CIT Task Force is a partnership between the Oak Ridge Police Department, Clinton Police Department, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Norris Police Department, Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services, NAMI Oak Ridge, Department of Children’s Services, and other community health advocates. To date, over 350 law enforcement and emergency services personnel have received training.
State Rep. Monty Fritts, 32nd District was in attendance and addressed the graduates thanking them for their service to the community. “Having CIT trained officers in the corrections setting can help us connect people to services out in the community and reduce recidivism,” said Matthew Sackett, Morgan County Sheriff’s Office before the graduation ceremony.
“My overall assessment of CIT is that it’s wonderful resource to help recognize when a person is experiencing a mental health crisis and respond appropriately,” Kaison Brockman, Anderson County EMS said. While James Bruglio with Roane County Sheriff’s Office, shared “The officers who go through the training helps them become more empathetic to people experiencing a mental health emergency.”
“CIT has helped open my eyes and broaden my understanding of what people may be experiencing when in a crisis,” Angel Pagan of Oak Ridge Police Department said.
Prior to the graduation ceremony, Officer Cade Brown of the Oliver Springs Police was presented the CIT Officer of the Year for serving the community in crisis situations with exceptional care and compassion, while ensuring the safety of themselves and others.
The next training is scheduled to take place in Norris in the fall of 2023. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED 6/27/2023- 6AM)