Not to be outdone by the Service Awards in the Fire Department that I posted about yesterday, the Kent Police had one of their own receive a well earned special recognition that deserves to be shared as well.
It turns out that the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County, in partnership with the Portage County Police Chiefs Association, honored Officer James Fuller of the Kent Police Department with their 2012 Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year award.
This news broke a couple of months ago so it may not be hot off the presses anymore but it’s too important to let slip by without a shout-out from the City Manager.
Police work, even in a modest sized City like Kent, has many aspects that most people never think about. Keeping folks with a range of disabilities safe is one of those less known challenges that Kent Officers face. Officer Fuller has made that part of his job and he does it exceptionally well. Great work.
Below are excerpts from the press release that was issued when Officer Fuller was chosen as this year’s winner.
Kent Police Officer James Fuller was named the 2012 Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year by the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County and the Portage County Police Chiefs Association.
“After completing CIT, I realized how beneficial it is for the City of Kent, the police department, me as an officer and in my personal life. I see myself making a difference by going the extra mile for people in need,” Fuller said.
He was nominated by Kent Police Chief Michelle A. Lee. A member of the force for the past six years, Fuller went through the CIT training in 2010.
“Officer Fuller has been a dedicated and trusted Officer who is highly regarded by his peers. Jim has embraced the CIT philosophy and vision ever since. He has a reassuring nature, that CIT has reinforced, allowing him to deal with CIT incidents with positive outcomes,” said Chief Lee.
CIT It is a philosophy and set of tools adopted by safety forces which helps them work with people in crisis, many of whom have mental illnesses and/or addictions. The skills that law and safety professional learn keep them and the persons with the mental illness safe in unpredictable situations.
CIT trains officers to become aware of mental health and addiction problems and then to learn and practice de-escalation. The officers are trained to help people in crises access appropriate care for their illness. CIT is a program of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It is coordinated in Portage County by the Mental Health & Recovery Board and the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.
Fuller is pretty much ready to go out the door when a call needing CIT expertise comes into the department, Lee said.
He was instrumental in helping a panicked Kent family find a family member who was threatening suicide. The daughter was calmed and transported to a hospital for emergency care.
The CIT training has helped Fuller deal with domestic situations where mental illness or a mental disability has been involved. Several have involved teens with mental illnesses who have run away or threatened harm to family members.
One aspect of CIT work is checking in regularly on community members who struggle with mental illness, a task that often helps the person maintain stability. Fuller responded to a welfare check of a man who had threatened suicide. With his calm manner, Fuller was able to interview the individual in his home, help him find his medications and talk about options for care.
Follow-up with residents is important to Fuller who sees it as one more tool to helping him excel at his career in law enforcement.
As well as his road duties, Fuller has taken on other department responsibilities including bike patrol, taxi cab inspector and the deployment and maintenance of the speed trailer.
Past recipients are Sgt. Andy Suvada of Streetsboro Police; Community Resource Officer Michquel Penn of KSU Police Services; Officer Jeff Futo, also of KSU Police Services; Lt. Dale Korman of Windham Police; and Lt. Greg Johnson of the Portage County Sheriff’s Office. Suvada was also named Ohio CIT Officer for 2008 and International CIT Officer in 2011.