City Crisis Team Recognizes Exceptional Service
Alexandria’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) recently recognized four public safety personnel for exemplary performance in assisting persons with mental illness during a crisis. Those honored were: Teresa Smith, the Quality Assurance Coordinator for the Department of Emergency Communications; Master Deputy IV Michael Cole, Sheriff’s Department; Officer Ray Golden and Officer Richard Harrell, Police Department.
Smith was praised for embracing the CIT mindset by ensuring that all Emergency Communication employees have CIT training and that the CIT core values are a part of the DEC culture. Deputy Cole, a CIT trainee who became an instructor, was lauded for generously giving time and energy to ensuring that the CIT program is successful in the Sheriff’s office, providing specialized training on the weekend to Emergency Communication Technicians and assisting when transporting inmates with mental health problems. Officer Golden was named Officer of the Year for properly apprehending a man who was experiencing a psychiatric crisis on a busy street. Golden used the least amount of force, thus avoiding harming passersby, himself and the man in crisis. Officer Harrell received the CIT Intervention of the Year Award for conducting a thorough investigation into nuisance complaints in a neighborhood and discovering that the source of the problem was a young man with bipolar disorder. Because Harrell recognized that this was not a criminal case but one in which a person needed treatment, the investigation ended when the young man moved out of the neighborhood and into long-term mental health treatment.
The awards were presented by Mayor William D. Euille, Police Chief Earl Cook, Sheriff Dana Lawhorne, Emergency Communications Director Jo-Anne Munroe, and Liz Wixson from the Department of Community and Human Services. Also recognized were the more than 250 City employees from the Police, Fire and Sheriff’s Departments, Code Administration, the Department of Emergency Communications and the Department of Community and Human Services who participated in the week-long trainings to enable them to intervene in situations where a person with mental illness had put himself or others at risk of harm.