On February 19, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) bestowed two statewide awards to individuals and agencies in Cumberland County. One award went to Major John McRainey, Chief Jailer of the Cumberland County Detention Center; he was named Outstanding Law Enforcement Executive of the Year for his work in organizing and supporting crisis intervention team training sessions for law enforcement officers, who are exposed to people in the local community with various mental health challenges. The other award, Outstanding CIT Partnership of the Year, went to the Fayetteville-Cumberland County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), which consists of law enforcement officers from three agencies—the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, the Fayetteville Police Department, and the Fort Bragg Military Police.
Throughout the state of North Carolina, law enforcement, mental health professionals, and advocates are joining in partnership to establish Crisis Intervention Teams. CIT programs provide team members with the knowledge and skills they need to de-escalate situations where individuals are in crisis. Treatment is emphasized rather than jail time for persons displaying symptoms of mental illness. The Division of MH/DD/SAS coordinates the statewide initiative through its Justice Systems Team, headed by Bob Kurtz, Ph.D. In addition, the Division provides funding for the CIT training.