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Officers Bartholomew, Butcher, Kreiger are 2020 CIT Officers of the Year

The Mental Health & Recovery Board is proud to announce the 2020 Crisis Intervention Team Officers of the Year awarded by the Portage County Police Chief’s Association: Officer Josh Bartholomew, Streetsboro PD; Officer Matthew Butcher, Kent City PD; Officer Scott Krieger, Ravenna PD.

The officers were recognized 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.

Streetsboro Police Chief Patricia Wain stated that Ofc Bartholomew has taken steps to work closely with the mental health community in his role as the County’s CIT Coordinator, acting as a trainer during the CIT classes for officers, and working with the city’s fire department personnel.

This past year, Ofc Bartholomew made the extra effort to reach out to a homeless woman who had consistently refused help from the police. “Ofc Bartholomew connected with a social worker from Coleman Professional Services and together they were able to engage the woman in conversation and shared community resources with her. Had Ofc Bartholomew not taken that step, I doubt we would have been able to have any dialogue with her at all.”

Ofc Butcher spent most of 2020 as the Kent City School Resource Officer. “In this role he built relationships with students in such a manner they grew to trust and respect him,” said Kent City Police Chief Nicholas Shearer. “On one occasion, Ofc Butcher responded to a report of suicidal student during the evening hours when he wasn’t on duty. He was able to successfully help de-escalate the situation.”

Officer Butcher always goes out of his way to help fellow officers if they are struggling to de-escalate a person in crisis as well as assisting community members. “He has been known to purchase coffee and food for those in need while helping out.,” Shearer commented.

Sgt Craig Wilmington of the Ravenna City Police Department nominated Ptl Kreiger for the award. “Ptl Kreiger always maintains a good relationship with the people of our community and continues to make Ravenna a safe place to live, work, and visit,” he said.

A particular time in 2020, a mental health patient who was released from jail sought help from Kreiger as he had nowhere to sleep and didn’t know where to turn. “Ptl Kreiger took the time needed to resolve the situation by calling multiple landlords and eventually found housing for him,” explained Sgt Wilmington.

John Garrity, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Portage County noted that this is the second CIT Officer of the Year award for all three officers.

“We are so pleased to learn how these officers have gone above and beyond, time and time again, to help residents who are experiencing a mental health crisis. They are great assets to our community,” he stated.

The officers were recognized at the January 11th Mental Health & Recovery Board meeting.

Congratulations and thank you for serving our community!


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