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Page updated Oct 2, 2012 12:24 PM

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Lieutenant Kapetanis Honored for Crisis Intervention Work

2012 CIT Deputy AwardCongratulations to Lieutenant John Kapetanis for being named Deputy of the Year by the Alexandria Crisis Intervention Team. On Thursday, September 6, the Alexandria Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) held an awards program and cookout at Alexandria Police headquarters. Sheriff Dana Lawhorne presented Lieutenant Kapetanis with a plaque and recognized his outstanding CIT service and outreach.

Mayor William D. Euille, Police Chief Earl Cook, JoAnne Munroe of the Department of Emergency Communications, and Liz Wixson of the Department of Community and Human Services also took part in the presentations. Others honored at the awards program were Officer Bennie Evans as CIT Officer of the Year, Officer Joe Kirby for CIT Intervention of the Year and Teresa Smith as CIT Department of Emergency Communications Employee of the Year.

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.

Lieutenant Kapetanis, a 32-year-veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, is the Operations Commander of the Judicial Services Division based at the Alexandria Courthouse. When working with members of the public at the courthouse or in the field, he is able to notice when someone is exhibiting signs of stress and/or mental illness and he works to engage them in ways that are supportive and non-confrontational but firm and clear. He works effectively with other CIT member agencies to ensure that such people receive necessary treatment and services. Lieutenant Kapetanis has been a CIT member since June 2010, after graduating from Alexandria’s first CIT course. More than 40 other deputies are also CIT members.

Through their 40 hours of training, CIT officers and deputies learn skills such as suicide intervention, verbal de-escalation techniques, the role of the family in the care of a person with mental illness, and legal training in mental health and substance abuse issues. In addition to classroom instruction, CIT members 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.