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CIT graduates lead to life saved

*MEDIA RELEASE*

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Michael J. Yates  DATE: March 30, 2017 PHONE: 865-719-7221

CIT graduates lead to life saved

Oak Ridge, TN – Twenty law enforcement personnel graduated from Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training on March 10, 2017. The graduates represented Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, Oak Ridge Police Department, Rocky Top Police Department, Anderson County Corrections Office, and Blount Memorial Security.

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, consumers, family members, and citizens within the community.

Oak Ridge Police Department’s Chief James Akagi stated in his opening remarks, “Thanks to the partnership between the Oak Ridge City Police Department, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, Ridgeview Behavioral Health, NAMI Oak Ridge, the Mental Health Association of East Tennessee, and other community health advocates, our community has better equipped itself with first responders who have an effective set of communication and problem solving skills.” To date, the East Tennessee Crisis Intervention Team has trained over 180 law enforcement personnel.

During the graduation ceremony, Brian Buuck, Ridgeview CEO, emphasized the words of CIT founder, Major Sam Cochran, “the program’s success is as much about changing hearts as it is about changing minds.” One graduate shared, “One of the best overall courses I have attended. [It] increased my ability to better serve consumers experiencing a crisis,” while another shared, “Very good and beneficial to the job. [I] learned very useful skills.”

One week after graduation, Rocky Top Police Officer, Todd Johnston, was called upon to put his new skill set to use. An individual stood atop a bridge overlooking interstate 75 preparing to jump. Due to Officer Johnston’s CIT Training, he was able to recognize the acute emotional pain and hopelessness the individual was experiencing and connect them to help and hope.

CIT saved a life in that moment and continues to make a lasting, positive impact on all citizens. A CIT Officer of the Year will be recognized on May 5 at Noon on the climbing tower grounds of Ridgeview. The public is invited to attend as part of the free community mental health awareness event, Ride for Hope.

*END*

CIT graduates from March 10, 2017

Anderson Co. Sheriff's Dept.

Shawn L. Bannach; Robert Collins; Tyler A. Culver; Marty W. Fenton; Ray J. Green; Joe Harrison; Thomas J. Hartsfield; Amy M. Purkey; Brittany Streetman; Shain Vowell; and Mark Whaley

Blount Memorial Security

Jonathan P. Bailey

Rocky Top

David Campbell and Todd Johnston

Oak Ridge Police Dept.

Gary Beaty; Charles R. Crothers; Philip Knight; Kurt I. W. Lauen; Jeremy R. Phillips; and Chelsey Pickens
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Michael Yates is the Director of Development at Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services
Ridgeview is a private, not for profit community mental health center with locations in Anderson, Campbell, Morgan, Roane, and Scott counties.