City of Waynesboro employees honored at statewide CIT conference

waynesboroTwo City of Waynesboro employees were honored at the sixth annual Virginia Crisis Intervention Training Coalition Conference last week in Blacksburg.

The multidisciplinary conference was sponsored by the Virginia CIT Coalition, the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and the Department of Criminal Justice Services.

Police Capt. Kelly Walker received the CIT Program Coordinator of the Year Award. As the Blue Ridge CIT Program Coordinator, Walker has more than doubled the number of participating member agencies which has dramatically increased the number of CIT trained personnel currently serving our communities.  He has also worked tirelessly to secure over $700,000 in grant funding to support many of our regional CIT initiatives.

Some of these initiatives include the establishment of a State sanctioned Therapeutic Assessment Site which is co-located in the Augusta Health Emergency Department, and the establishment of an Alternative Transportation Program for involuntary mental health transports that has been adopted in part by many other Virginia localities.

Telecommunicator Billy Hall received the Communications Officer of the Year Award.

In 2015 Hall took his CIT training through Blue Ridge CIT. Since then he has often been heard to say that the training changed his perspective in dealing with 911 callers in crisis. That was never more evident than on the evening of February 2, 2018 when Hall took a 911 call from a woman who had been assaulted by her husband. It was revealed that this was an ongoing issue and that she had her three small children in the home with her.

Hall’s effective interaction with the caller resulted in him obtaining critical information for first responders.  Additionally, he was able to calm her down and keep her and the children safe by providing specific instructions on locking doors and moving the children to a safe location until the arrival of law enforcement. Hall’s actions ensured a positive outcome in an extremely volatile situation.

augusta free press

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