Kent Cop Named Crisis Intervention Officer of the Year
Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County honors James Fuller for work with people with mental illness, addiction issues
Kent Police Officer James Fuller was named the 2012 Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year by the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County and the Portage County Police Chiefs Association.
“After completing CIT, I realized how beneficial it is for the City of Kent, the police department, me as an officer and in my personal life. I see myself making a difference by going the extra mile for people in need,” Fuller said.
He was nominated by Kent Police Chief Michelle A. Lee. A member of the force for the past six years, Fuller went through the CIT training in 2010.
“Officer Fuller has been a dedicated and trusted Officer who is highly regarded by his peers. Jim has embraced the CIT philosophy and vision ever since. He has a reassuring nature, that CIT has reinforced, allowing him to deal with CIT incidents with positive outcomes,” said Chief Lee.
CIT It is a philosophy and set of tools adopted by safety forces which helps them work with people in crisis, many of whom have mental illnesses and/or addictions. The skills that law and safety professional learn keep them and the persons with the mental illness safe in unpredictable situations.
CIT trains officers to become aware of mental health and addiction problems and then to learn and practice de-escalation. The officers are trained to help people in crises access appropriate care for their illness. CIT is a program of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. It is coordinated in Portage County by the Mental Health & Recovery Board and the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.
Fuller is pretty much ready to go out the door when a call needing CIT expertise comes into the department, Lee said.
He was instrumental in helping a Kent family find a family member who was threatening suicide. The daughter was calmed and transported to a hospital for emergency care.
The CIT training has helped Fuller deal with domestic situations where mental illness or a mental disability has been involved. Several have involved teens with mental illnesses who have run away or threatened harm to family members.
One aspect of CIT work is checking in regularly on community members who struggle with mental illness, a task that often helps the person maintain stability. Fuller responded to a welfare check of a man who had threatened suicide. With his calm manner, Fuller was able to interview the individual in his home, help him find his medications and talk about options for care.
Follow-up with residents is important to Fuller who sees it as one more tool to helping him excel at his career in law enforcement.
As well as his road duties, Fuller has taken on other department responsibilities including bike patrol, taxi cab inspector and the deployment and maintenance of the speed trailer.
Past recipients are Sgt. Andy Suvada of Streetsboro Police; Community Resource Officer Michquel Penn of KSU Police Services; Officer Jeff Futo, also of KSU Police Services; Lt. Dale Korman of Windham Police; and Lt. Greg Johnson of the Portage County Sheriff’s Office. Suvada was also named Ohio CIT Officer for 2008 and International CIT Officer in 2011.
The Mental Health & Recovery Board is a county government agency that plans, funds and monitors public mental health and addiction treatment services and substance abuse prevention education. Partly funded by local levies, the board’s responsibilities include ensuring Portage County has services for residents in crisis including funding 24-hour crisis services through Coleman Access and Townhall II’s Helpline. The MHRB is online at www.mental-health-recovery.org and on Facebook.