Officer Dan Kalk of the Aurora Police Department and Officer Stanley Siedlecki of the Streetsboro Police Department were recognized as Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Officers of the Year by the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County and the Portage County Police Chiefs Association.
The officers were awarded for practicing the communication and de-escalation techniques they learned during their CIT training in dealing with individuals who are experiencing a mental health crisis or are struggling with addiction.
State Senator John Eklund attended the ceremony to personally congratulate the officers and to present them with a commendation from the Ohio Senate.
Officer Kalk was nominated by a community member for his compassion and thoughtfulness and Aurora Chief Byard seconded the nomination. “Sergeant Kalk has a high level of compassion, especially for the special needs community,” commented Byard.” He is an example of how law enforcement can be an effective partner in managing crisis situations.”
Officer Siedlecki was nominated by Streetsboro Chief Powers. “As a road officer, Officer Siedlecki has been excellent at talking with individuals who are either experiencing a mental crisis or those who just need some guidance,” said Powers.
Siedlecki gives back to the CIT program each year by volunteering as an actor for the role plays that are used to train officers during the week-long training. He also helps the community by organizing a food drive for the local pantry.
Joel Mowrey, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County, explained that “the CIT training class provides law enforcement officers with tools to safely help people in crisis and prevent arrests. Officers learn de-escalation techniques and develop a fundamental understanding of mental illness and substance use disorders. CIT emphasizes the need for the police and community professionals to work collaboratively as a team to help our residents who are in crisis.” Since 2006, more than 250 officers have completed the class in Portage County. Every law enforcement agency in the county has CIT officers. The course is supported nationwide by the National Alliance on Mental Illness.