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Police Services Campus Officer Receives Ohio CIT Officer of the Year AwardPosted Sept. 27, 2010
Kent State University Police Officer Jeff Futo received the 2010 Campus Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Officer of the Year Award. The award was presented by Attorney General Richard Cordray on Sept. 1 at CIT Advanced Training Conference in Columbus. CIT is a specialized training program in which law enforcement officers are educated about mental illness and substance abuse and learn skills to deescalate certain individuals in crisis situations.
Futo recently received the Portage County CIT Officer of the Year Award as well."This award is our way of publicly expressing our appreciation to Officer Futo for serving as a role model for CIT officers around Ohio. His commitment to helping those in his community with mental illness has a profound impact not only on those individuals, but also on their loved ones and the members of the community at large," says Terry Russell, interim executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio.
According to Dean P. Tondiglia, assistant chief of Kent State University Police Services, Futo exemplifies the ideal officer to deploy in a crisis situation. "Through his cool and calm demeanor, Officer Futo immediately sets the appropriate tone for dealing with people in crisis," says Tondiglia. "His sense of humor enables him to defuse and deescalate situations to resolve problems in a safe and humane manner. Many times Officer Futo will stop by and see how someone is doing after an incident. He has found that people are both grateful and suprprised that he cares enough to check up on them after the initial crisis is over. He believes that this follow-up with people may be one of the most important components of a true CIT program."
"Officer Futo's approach to CIT is exactly what was envisioned by the founders of Crisis Intervention Teams in Memphis more than 20 years ago," says Mark Munetz, director of the Ohio Criminal Justice Center of Coordinating Excellence.
The first CIT program began in Memphis, Tenn. in 1988, in response to the shooting death a year earlier of a 27-year-old man with mental illness in an incident with the Memphis Police Department. This shooting outraged the community, and from this community crisis emerged a new way of doing business for both the police and mental health community.
"Today, law enforcement, mental health professionals and advocates are collaborating in communities throughout Ohio to provide training to help police officers identify and respond to calls involving someone experiencing a mental health crisis," Munetz says.