OPD officers ready to help in a time of crisis - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

OPD officers ready to help in a time of crisis

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Officer Michael Hathaway Officer Michael Hathaway
Officer Jeff Burnett Officer Jeff Burnett
Officer Eric Flory Officer Eric Flory

The Owensboro Police Department strives to provide professional service to the community, and one way they are continuing in this effort is by training their officers to be certified CIT members. 

CIT, or Crisis Intervention Team, is a program designed to enhance the response to those suffering from mental illness. The program teaches the necessary skills needed to keep the officer and the consumer safe during interactions, and to make certain that those in crisis receive the appropriate care.

CIT was started in 2001 in Louisville, Kentucky, and in 2007 it was made available to all law enforcement agencies across the state through a grant from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.

That's when the Owensboro Police Department began implementing this training, and the department says they now have 100% of their officers trained in CIT.

The CIT conference is held annually, during which awards are given for the CIT Officer of the Year for various regions across Kentucky.

The Owensboro Police Department falls within River Valley Behavioral Health's seven county region. A member of the department has been the recipient of that award for four years running. They are:

Ofc. Michael Hathaway – 2010 & 2011
Ofc. Jeff Burnett – 2012
Ofc. Eric Flory - 2013

The calls for service that the officers responded to involved individuals suffering with mental illness. Two of the individuals were contemplating suicide, one was showing outward signs of post traumatic stress, and one was making delusional statements. During each call, the officer was able to use techniques learned from their CIT training to bring the situation to a peaceful end, with no injuries to themselves or the consumer.

The next time you meet one of Owensboro's officers, look for the wings pinned to their
uniform. It's a symbol used by CIT to show that the officer is ready to help.

For more information, visit www.kentuckycit.com.

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