GAMBIER — Law enforcement was recognized Wednesday as graduates of the Crisis Intervention Team program.
A ceremony took place Wednesday at The Kenyon Inn commend those who participated in the class and will be able to use that knowledge when dealing with the crisis situations. The CIT program educates law enforcement on mental illnesses and trains them how to properly engage persons who suffer from such illnesses.
Kay Spergel, from Mental Health and Recovery for Licking and Knox Counties, acknowledged “We are going to celebrate 40 long, hard, hours of work and commitment demonstrated by 11 people who participated in this year’s class.”
Guest speaker Mike Wody, credited with starting the CIT program in Ohio, said he often asks graduates, “Why do you want to be a police officer?” He continued, “Many say, ‘Because I want to help people.’ Any scoundrel knows that is the right answer. CIT officers really mean it.” Wody informed the group that Ohio leads the world in CIT training, with 5,500 sworn police officers having completed the course.
“The real guts in the CIT course is building empathy in officers for people with mental illness,” Wody said. Statistics show officers who complete the training are safer in the field.
Sgt. Mike Yohe, Akron, also addressed the graduates.