News & Stories

Crisis Intervention Team Program

A statewide Advanced Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) Conference held virtually Friday, April 16, drew more than 250 participants, according to Northeast Ohio Medical University Coordinating Centers of Excellence Executive Director Ruth Simera. The event was hosted by the Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence (CJ CCoE) in partnership with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Ohio, and co-sponsored by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

A need for training

“A recent attack on a Canton police officer and the fatal shooting of a fast-food manager in Cuyahoga Falls by men with histories of mental illness underscore the need for more services and crisis training for law enforcement officers, who often are the first people on the scene,” said a recent Canton Repository article.  One response has been Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) programs.  

Such programs are designed to help law enforcement officers and other first responders manage situations involving mental health crises. Training on recognition of mental illness, strategies for interacting with people in a mental health crisis, and skills-based de-escalation training is provided by agencies and providers including NAMI and Coleman Professional Services. 

Training and providing technical assistance to the CIT Coordinators and trainers across Ohio is the CJ CCoE – a statewide hub that promotes jail diversion alternatives for Ohioans with mental illness through solutions such as the Crisis Interventional Team Model.

At the conference, retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Evelyn Stratton announced statewide CIT honors, which NEOMED, in partnership with NAMI Ohio, has presented annually since 2005.

Ohio CIT Award Winners 2021

CIT Officer of the Year 

Patrolman Jerome Fatzinger, Wooster Police Department 

CIT Officer of the Year 

Detective Charles Brett Adams, Springfield Police Division 

Michael S. Woody CIT Coordinator of the Year 

Erin Ivers, M.A., LPCC, Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery

Person with Lived Experience of the Year 

Lisa Marie Griffin 

CIT Corrections Professional of the Year 

Deputy Dominic Pierani, Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office

Evelyn Lundberg Stratton CIT Champion of the Year 

Melanie White, NAMI of Seneca, Sandusky, and Wyandot Counties

Law Enforcement Leader of the Year 

Chief Jerome T. Klue, M.P.A., Akron Children’s Hospital

Mental Health Practitioner of the Year 

Kathy M. Barnhart, LSW, Community Support Services 

More information

Those seeking more information on CIT programs may contact Ashley Eads at aeads@neomed.edu to receive The CIT Model of Collaboration between Law Enforcement and Mental Health book, Ohio CIT DVD, and information on how to be added to the statewide CIT Coordinator email list. 

Photo: Ruth Simera (left) and Evelyn Stratton (right)