TOP PHOTO: Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services personnel was among the Crisis Intervention Team training graduates.

NORRIS, TN. (WLAF)- Eighteen law enforcement personnel, three Covenant Health Security officers, two US Probation officers; one emergency medical service employee, and one mental health professional graduated from Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training on Nov. 3 at Norris City Hall in Norris. The 25 graduates represented a wide range of departments and agencies: Ameri Med, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Covenant Health, Harriman Police Department, Norris Police Department, Oak Ridge Police Department, Roane County Sheriff’s Office, 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.

Sheriff Russell Barker provided Keynote Remarks, while Jim Dodson, Oak Ridge Mayor Pro Tem, and Representative Monty Fritts, 32nd District of TN House, were in attendance and addressed the graduates by thanking them for their service to the community. Norris Chief of Police, Michael Poole, and Lt. David Campbell were instrumental in bringing CIT to the Norris community.

Alexis Francis, Oak Ridge Police Department, reflected before the graduation ceremony, “CIT Training is a great tool to help deescalate crisis situations for people experiencing a mental health emergency and get them connected to the help they need.” Dominque Craigmiles, Harriman Police Department, spoke positively about his experience and the value of empathetic listening. While Bridget Thew with Roane County Sheriff’s Office, emphasized, “I encounter a lot of people who are very distressed at the courthouse, and CIT has taught me the value in making a connection with people, which is key to de-escalation and increasing safety for everyone.”

The next training is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2024.

Tracy L. Minor- Anderson County SO; Andrea Mills- Anderson County SO; Devin Corn- Anderson County SO; Steven Davis- Anderson County SO; Christian Taylor Young- Anderson County SO; Robert Anderson- Ameri Med; Scott Kelley- Covenant Health; Jessica Thomas- Covenant Health; George Massingill- Covenant Health; Dominique Craigmiles- Harriman PD; Nicole Darby- Harriman PD; Charles Jay Levan- Norris PD; Gabriel Hackler- Norris PD; Alexis Francis- Oak Ridge PD; James Coker- Oak Ridge PD; Erin McAtamney- Oak Ridge PD; Lewis Ridenour- Oak Ridge PD; Brian Arrington- Oak Ridge PD; Amanda Renta- Ridgeview; Bridget Thew- Roane County SO; Dawson Stephens- Roane County SO; Dale Greenlaw- Roane Couunty SO; Carmen Lawson- Roane County SO; Erin Hicks- US Probation; and Loretta A. Smith- US Probation