Jan. 25 marked the 12th anniversary of Crisis Intervention Team training in the Orlando area: Since its inception, more than 1,600 law enforcement, corrections officers and Lynx transportation employees have attended CIT courses.
About 160 supporters attended Friday’s event emceed by WKMG Local 6 news anchor Lauren Rowe.
According to CIT International, a true CIT program must be “more than just a training” and must include three core partners – law enforcement/corrections, advocates and mental-health providers to build and sustain a successful community program.
Those words were echoed by Rosemary Steinbach, president of NAMIGO (National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Orlando), as she praised the many community partners who actively participate in the Central Florida CIT program. According to the event program, more than 32 partners representing community and health care agencies, families, individuals with mental illnesses and law enforcement agency personnel comprise the Central Florida group. NAMI has sponsored the appreciation event since 2010.
For the awards breakfast, each Central Florida CIT program agency selects a CIT Officer of the Year from its agency. A Central Florida CIT Officer of the Year is then selected from those awardees. The award is named for Winter Park Police Detective Steve Sciortino, who lost his life after battling cancer. Sciortino was Central Florida’s first CIT Officer of the Year.
The 2012 Central Florida Officer of the Year award was given to Orlando Police Detective John Goode whose “actions directly resulted in the lives of two suicidal persons being saved within a four-week time period,” according to Steinbach, who presented the award. “In demonstrating true compassion for people in severe crisis and in taking the time to truly list to them, Detective Goode was able to peacefully resolve two life-threatening situations.”
In the first event, Goode was able to develop a rapport with a woman sitting on the overpass above Orange Blossom Trail. The woman revealed she had bipolar disorder and had not taken her medication for a long period of time. She was hearing voices telling her to jump off the overpass. She later admitted to Goode that she’d been using crack cocaine in an effort to quiet the voices in her head.
In the second incident, although off duty, Goode responded to a woman whose children had been taken from her and who had recently broken up with her boyfriend. She was also threatening to jump to her death.
Both times, Goode’s CIT training enabled him to build such a level of trust that the women asked him to accompany them to Lakeside Behavioral Healthcare, where they were taken for evaluation and treatment.
In receiving the award, Goode thanked all his colleagues at Orlando Police Department, stating that it was due to their support and work as a team that resulted in a successful resolution of both incidents. Goode also participates as a regular role-player for CIT classes and as an active participant in many charitable events related to mental illness. Community involvement was a recurring theme among all awardees who regularly participate in fundraising activities and educational organizations, such as NAMI, in addition to their official duties.
Central Florida agency awardees are listed below. Florida Partners in Crisis extends a special thank- you to all CIT trained officers and community partners throughout Florida for your compassion and commitment to those with mental illnesses!
- Apopka Police Department , Officer Stephen Tapscott
- Oakland Police Department , Officer Joshua Smith
- Ocoee Police Department , Officer Carlos Anglero
- Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy First Class Kim Burk
- University of Central Florida Police Department, Cpl. Erik Lashinsky
- Winter Garden Police Department, Detective April Durias
- Winter Park Police Department, Officer Jonathan Maingot
- 2012 Angelo Dean Corrections CIT Officer of the Year, Officer Geraldo Peace, Orange County Corrections
For more information: Florida CIT Coalition