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May 2022 CIT Training Class Graduates

Police officers, first responders, and victims’ advocates recently completed the crisis intervention team (CIT) training coordinated by the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County.

The CIT program trains officers and others to handle incidents involving people who have a mental illness, to manage crisis situations for the safety of everyone involved, and to learn about mental illness and substance use disorders. Communication and de-escalation techniques, serious emotional problems in children, mental illness and alcohol and drug addiction, and information about local service providers, are all part of the 40-hour classroom and hands-on CIT training.

The class was led by Portage CIT Coordinator Officer Josh Bartholomew. “This session we included more informal conversations with people with mental illness and heard directly about their life experiences and also from their family members. This helps the officers to build empathy along with their knowledge on mental health conditions,” explained Bartholomew.

The program is sponsored nationally by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Learn more.

Back Row: Left to Right

Officer Matthew Colvin, Streetsboro Police; Officer Leonard Kunka, Kent City Police, Officer Brandon Bridgewater, Aurora Police; Deputies Joshua Brown and Donald Cutting, Portage County Sheriff’s Office; Officer Alex Dehoff, Ravenna Police, Ravenna Firefighter/Paramedic Matthew Bowery; Detective Dustin Svab, Ravenna City.

Front Row: Left to Right

Officer Ryan Miller, Streetsboro Police; Victim Advocate Jackie McCauley, Prosecutor's Office; Dispatchers Valerie Burke and Erin Smith, Ravenna Police; Victim Advocate Jennifer Stasko, Prosecutor's Office; Detective Kevin Nicolini, Ravenna Police.

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