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UC Police receive award for excellence in crisis intervention

The University of Cincinnati Police Division (UCPD) was recently named the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Department of the Year by Mental Health America (MHA) of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio.

The University of Cincinnati Police Division (UCPD) was recently named the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Department of the Year by Mental Health America (MHA) of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio.

Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) are community-based programs that bring together law enforcement, mental health professionals, advocates, people living with mental illness and their families, and other partners to improve community responses to people experiencing mental health crises, per the Ohio CIT.

UCPD is a prime candidate for the CIT Department of the Year Award due to its exceptional commitment to integrating a safe crisis response to every aspect of its operations,” said Amanda Shaw, MHA of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio Associate Director of Prevention and Education, at the award breakfast.

“The dedication goes far beyond simply providing CIT to officers,” Shaw continued. “UCPD’s commitment to building a culture of safety starts even before officers hit the streets.”

UCPD includes CIT principles in Use of Force training that all UCPD officers complete, in addition to mandatory CIT training and refresher courses. Supervisors encourage officers to take the time needed to provide an empathetic response, and the department employs a Crime Victim Services Coordinator that is available to provide support 24/7.

Shaw also highlighted UCPD’s emphasis on officer wellbeing, because officer wellbeing directly impacts their capacity to respond effectively, and on community partnerships, to allow for effective communication and a coordinated response.

“It’s partnerships and training like this that I’ve seen transform law enforcement over the past several decades. We are truly grateful that you share your expertise and knowledge with us,” said Eliot Isaac, UC Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety, at the event.

In addition, UCPD Sgt. Eric Frey received an honorable mention for his work in crisis intervention. Beth Roach, CIT Program Director at MHA of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio, listed just a few of Frey’s extensive training in CIT topics at the event.

“Sgt. Frey has put his skills and training to use almost daily. In the past couple years Sgt. Frey has successfully brought safe and peaceful resolutions to two separate situations involving individuals contemplating suicide,” Roach said.

Frey also works closely with UC students to ensure they get access to any help and resources that they need, and he serves on UCPD’s peer support team.

“Sgt. Frey has been an integral part of UCPD’s CIT team and peer support team. We are proud of the excellent work he has done,” Isaac said.

Featured image at top: Lt. Jennifer McMahon, Detective Victoria Bennett, Detective Maurice Milton, Sgt. Eric Frey, Capt. Jeffrey Thompson, Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety Eliot Isaac, Capt. Jason Voelkerding, Capt. David Hoffman, Chief of Staff John DeJarnette and Asst. Chief of Police Dudley Smith pose at the Hamilton County CIT Awards Breakfast.

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