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Rockwood Police Department officers Randy Keahey and Dwayne Gray recently completed crisis intervention training and are now certified as CIT officers.
The Rockwood officers were among the fifth class for CIT East Tennessee, which offers training in conjunction with the Oak Ridge Police Department and Ridgeview Behavioral Health Center, a not-for-profit community mental health center with offices in Harriman.
Eighteen officers representing the Rockwood Police Department, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Lincoln Memorial University Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the Oak Ridge Police Department completed the weeklong course.
There are now 88 CIT certified officers in the East Tennessee region.
State Rep. John Ragan gave the keynote address during the graduation ceremony at the Oak Ridge Municipal Building.
Oak Ridge Deputy Chief Alan Massengill and Ridgeview Chief Operating Officer Brian Buuck, chairman of the East Tennessee CIT Task Force, also addressed the officers.
The East Tennessee Crisis Intervention Team is a partnership of law enforcement agencies and mental health systems and advocates
that promotes dignity, safety and appropriate care for
individuals with a mental illness, instead of incarcera-
Classes take place at Ridgeview and provide 40 hours of classroom lecture by mental health professionals, attorneys and educators.
Topics include de-escalation techniques, suicide risk assessment, involuntary commitment laws and procedures, street encounters, dual diagnoses and mental illness in children, adolescents, adults and the elderly.
Site visits are made to area mental health facilities, Knox Area Rescue Ministries and Mobile Crisis units.
Officers complete the training with role-play exercises that provide an opportunity to use the techniques they have learned.
“When there is a mental health crisis in the community, professionals and families know they can call their
local law enforcement office and request that a CIT officer come to the scene,” said Buuck.
“As a result of their training ,these officers are able to recognize when an individual
is in crisis and know how to talk with them in a manner that leads to intervention and treatment, not arrest,” he added.
The East Tennessee CIT program is an award-winning program modeled after the Memphis CIT program that was developed in collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
This model has been adopted in more than 35 states and in hundreds of communities.
Call 865-482-1076 for more about the CIT program or other Ridgeview services.