CIT celebrates graduates


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              CONTACT: Michael J. Yates

DATE: November 11, 2019                                   PHONE: 865-719-7221

CIT celebrates graduates

Oak Ridge, TN – Twelve law enforcement personnel graduated from Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training on November 8, 2019. The graduates represented Anderson County Emergency Medical Service, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Oak Ridge Police Department, Pellissippi State Police Department, and U.S. Probation Office.

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 Office, 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 300 law enforcement and emergency services personnel have received training.

Oak Ridge Police Department’s Chief C. Robin Smith stated in his opening remarks, “I think CIT is a great program and we’re very supportive of it. I’m excited for these graduates and the opportunity they have to return to their respective departments and generate enthusiasm for more participation in CIT because communities are safer when first responders have an effective set of communication and problem-solving skills.”

Oak Ridge Police Officer Matthew Maples said prior to graduation, “CIT is an invaluable course. If we’re able to intervene and talk someone down from making a tragic decision on what may be the worst day of a person’s life, then we’ve done our job as a police officer.” US Probation Officer Rhonda Lay shared after the ceremony, “We attend training all over the country and this is one of the most valuable we’ve received.”

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.”


CIT graduates from November 8 graduation ceremony, 2019


Front row from left to right: CIT Instructor and Oak Ridge Police Department (ORPD)-Chris Luethge, US Probation-Joshua Brown, Pellissippi State Police Department-Lindsey Ross, and CIT Instructor and ORPD-John Kelly

Second row from left to right:  Anderson County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO)-Joe McCulley, ACSO-Matthew McGhee, Anderson County EMS David Murner, ORPD-Matthew Maples, and ORPD-Jeffrey George

Back row from left to right: US Probation-Rhonda Lay, ACSO-Christopher Paul, US Probation-Nicholas Dongarra, ORPD-Mark Miracle, and ORPD-Jennifer Thomas


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.