Sheriff’s Office Employees among New Crisis Intervention Team Graduates
Congratulations to the latest graduates of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training academy! Sheriff's Office members Deputy Roy Hopson, Deputy Myrna Juarez, Deputy Earlene Pierre and Dr. Cortnee Webb, a psychologist at the Detention Center, were among those recognized at a graduation ceremony on Friday, February 8 at police headquarters. Captain Shahram Fard, Officer William Rutz, Officer Willie Moses and Officer Marielsi Alvarez-Campos of the Alexandria Police Department; Lisa Stapleton and LaWanda Crum of Probation/Parole; Philip Pugh and Donna Dailey of Code Enforcement; and David Fox, Chip Myers and Cathy Kroohs of the Alexandria Fire Department 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, 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. 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: Sheriff Dana Lawhorne with CIT graduates Dr. Cortnee Webb, Deputy Earlene Pierre, Deputy Myrna Juarez and Deputy Roy Hopson.