Officers Steve Brown, James Courtney, Cara Egan, Jonathan Ellis, Matt Kramarik, Anthony Larusso, John Leonard, Frank Riley and Osama Sharif of the Alexandria Police Department; Bill Cassani and Hollie Girod of Probation/Parole; Medics Khoa Tran and Frederick “Bud” Koerner of the Alexandria Fire Department, and Wendy Vaughn of the Department of Community and Human Services also graduated in this session.
CIT was developed in collaboration with the Department of Community and Human Services, Alexandria Police Department, and Alexandria Sheriff’s Office to help improve staff interactions and outcomes with persons with mental illness and substance use disorders. Alexandria’s program includes staff from all first responding agencies to ensure that a comprehensive, City-wide approach is in place to assist those with mental illness.
Through their 40 hours of training, CIT members learn skills such as suicide intervention and verbal de-escalation techniques, explore the role of the family in the care of a person with mental illness, and receive legal training in mental health and substance abuse issues. CIT members also participate in role playing exercises based on real-life scenarios and spend a day visiting mental health and substance abuse inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities where they have the opportunity to engage in one-on-one dialogue with mental health consumers.
Since the program began in 2010, more than 50 deputies have completed CIT training and are able to use their specialized skills in the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center, at the Alexandria Courthouse and in the community.
Photo: Chief Deputy Clarke Stearns and CIT Instructor Deputy Jeffery Hunter congratulate the newest Sheriff’s Office CIT graduates. (l-r: Deputy Alicia Green, Lieutenant Melissa Josiah, Deputy Taneshia Dublin, Chief Deputy Clarke Stearns, Deputy James Velez, Deputy Charlie Winstead, Deputy Julio Ocasio and CIT Instructor Deputy Jeffery Hunter)