CIT celebrates graduates


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                              CONTACT: Michael J. Yates

DATE: November 12, 2018                                                                 PHONE: 865-719-7221


CIT celebrates graduates

Oak Ridge, TN – Twenty-four law enforcement and emergency services personnel graduated from Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training on November 9, 2018. The graduates represented Alcoa Police Department, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, Blount County Sheriff’s Department, Cocke County Sheriff’s Department, Cookeville Police Department, MTSU Police Department, Oak Ridge Fire Department, and Oak Ridge Police Department.

CIT is an innovative first-responder model of police-based crisis intervention with community, health care, and advocacy partnerships. CIT provides 40 hours of specialized training for problem solving and de-escalating crisis situations with individuals who have a mental illness. Studies show it also improves the safety of patrol officers, consumers, family members, and citizens within the community.

The East Tennessee CIT Task Force is a partnership between the Oak Ridge Police Department, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services, NAMI Oak Ridge, the Mental Health Association of East Tennessee, Department of Children’s Services, Youth Villages, Emory Valley Center, and other community health advocates. To date, over 225 law enforcement and emergency services personnel have received training.

During the graduation ceremony, Brian Buuck, Ridgeview CEO, emphasized the words of CIT founder, Major Sam Cochran, “the program’s success is as much about changing hearts as it is about changing minds.” Buuck added, “CIT officers play a vital role in keeping the community safe and promoting hope, healing, and recovery for individuals experiencing a psychiatric crisis.” Former Oak Ridge Deputy Chief Alan Massengill, who helped found East Tennessee CIT, reflected during the ceremony, “This training is one more helpful tool in an officer’s tool box. My hope is that every officer is able to receive this training.”

On May 4 of this year, Lt. Governor Randy McNally presented Rocky Top Police Officer Todd Johnston with the East Tennessee CIT Officer of the Year award for having demonstrated extraordinary skill and mastery of the CIT concepts.


CIT graduates from November 9, 2018


CIT Trainers: Oak Ridge Police Officer Chris Leuthge, Ridgeview’s Jan Cagle, Oak Ridge Police Officer John Kelly

Alcoa Police Department: Keith Fletcher, Cody Russell, Mark Tate, and Rodney Wilson

Anderson County Sheriff’s Department: Adam Bunch, Dustin D. Hensley, Kim Lay, Michael Leach, James C. Owens, Adam J. Shulze, Mark C. Skove, and Edward Young                 

Blount County Sheriff’s Department: Tristan Hout

Cocke County Sheriff’s Department: Zachary Shelton

Cookeville Police Department: Kyle Ray Farley and Vincent Akira Levy

Middle Tennessee State University Police Department: Mario D. Hussey       

Oak Ridge Fire Department: Austin Keathley

Oak Ridge Police Department: Jesse Coots, Larry Dowdell Jr., Stephen Farnell, Kayla Frazier, Randy J. Gibson, Jr., and Landon D. Williams


Michael Yates is the Director of Development at Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services

Ridgeview is a private, not for profit community mental health center with locations in Anderson, Campbell, Morgan, Roane, and Scott counties.