2018 CIT Training for Police

The 2018 Round of CIT Training for Police

Nov. 12-16, 2018

Every year for the last sixteen years, the SE Ohio CIT Committee, of which NAMI is a part, has run a five-day Crisis Intervention Training program for area law enforcement officers and other first responders. Designed to teach SE Ohio officers to recognize persons in mental health crises, to deescalate, and get them to help rather than jail, our award-winning program had trained 381 people as of last year’s course. This year, we trained another 18, bringing the grand total to 399.


CIT 2018 Graduating Class. First Row L-R: Jessica Harris, Quinn Cavinne, Marie Ruckel, Michael Jones, Kyle Kennard, Lydle Cain, David Malawiata (instructor). Second Row; Stephen Noftz (instructor), Aaron Wolfe, Justin Baker, Derek Johnson, Shane Sloan, Dustin Robison, Margaret Sterling (Instructor). Third Row: Sitting L-R: Ben Adams, David Strausbaugh, Pennie Stack, Joel Banks, Ethan Doerr, Brad Fleenor, Thomas Baden. (Photo by staff of 317 Board)

Our CIT program differs from many other CIT programs in that it is designed for the rural setting with small departments. Unlike the situation in urban areas where the objective is to train CIT teams for individual departments in order that there is always a team available to send to a mental health call, ours must try to train as many officers as possible from a wide number of departments in order that – at any moment – a CIT officer is available from the department called upon. This year, we trained first responders from ten different entities ranging from police and sheriff’s departments to university and college police to jail and correctional facilities. Four of this year’s class were women. From the beginning, NAMI has had two roles in CIT Training:

  • We are the non-profit organization which handles the money contributed by the 317 Board, NAMI Ohio, other sources, as well as NAMI Athens itself.
  • Our NAMI is in charge of organizing the consumer and family components of the CIT experience. This component has always featured family and consumer panels – the latter composed of individuals in recovery from the major mental illnesses.

The consumer panel featured individuals in sound recovery from schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.


Consumers, Katie Feick, Donna Lechleiter, [moderator,Tom Walker] and Darrin Hacquard. (Photo by staff of 317 Board)

The family panel featured three mothers of consumers with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. One of the mothers had, herself, been on the consumer panel minutes before.


Family, Marry Patacca, Donna Lechleiter, [Tom Walker Moderator] and Adrienne Nagy. (Photo by staff of 317 Board)

As for many years in the past, OU Computer programmer, Milt Greek delivered his ever popular keynote, “Schizophrenia from the inside out.”


Milt Greek, CIT keynoter on “Schizophrenia from the inside out”. (Photo from archive collection)

We also had a stand-alone panel, “PTSD from the inside out,” featuring two individuals in sound recovery from war-inflicted PTSD.


PTSD Panel: Kelley Macek and Randy Montgomery. (Photo by staff of 317 Board)

The primordial purpose of the consumer and family input is to show the police that mental illness effects good people and that the agitated and confrontational “offenders” they encounter in mental health crises – about ten percent of their calls – deserve their respect and compassion.


CIT Officers Doing Role Play with a Man in Crisis. Tinfoil over head to Prevent Aliens from invading His Mind. (Photo by staff of 317 board)

For the last several years, our CIT Committee has honored a CIT officer for a particularly outstanding job he did in handling a CIT case during the previous year. This year’s honoree was Neal Dickens of the Athens police department. For details from eye witness Christine Miles click here.


Outstanding CIT Officer for 2018. L-R: David Malawista (APD), Witness Christine Miles, Neal Dickens (APD), Diane Pfaff (317 Board), Tom Pyle (APD) (Photo by staff of 317 Board).