Crisis Intervention Team Awards Outstanding Frontline Responders

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Crisis Intervention Team hosted its annual awards ceremony Wednesday to honor exceptional frontline responders in the Charlotte area.

The awards were held at the Valerie C. Woodward Center on Freedom Drive in West Charlotte.

Each year, the Crisis Intervention Team recognizes outstanding work by first responders with people in crisis with a serious mental illness. The team says each person who received an award Wednesday had a powerful moment of service or provided valuable work to help the community.

Among the award recipients was CMS School Resource Officer James “JJ” Flowers. He won instructor of the year for his work teaching bias training to officers.

“The training they’re receiving for that 40 hour week is just another tool in their tool belt that I’d like for you to pull out first. Not the taser, not the baton,” Flowers said.

CIT is a community-based collaboration between law enforcement, mental health agencies, consumers and family members, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-Charlotte, and Central Piedmont. CIT was developed for Law Enforcement Officers who are frequently front-line responders to persons in crisis with a serious mental illness.

Carefully selected volunteer patrol officers receive Crisis Intervention Team training in a 40-hour certification course where they learn how to verbally de-escalate crisis situations.

The full list of Wednesday’s award winners follows:

Intervention of the Year: Rollin Mackel, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD), Nathan Phillips (CMPD), Nathan Sanchez (CMPD)

CIT Supporter of the Year: Dove’s Nest

CIT Team Member of the Year: Allen “Scott” Garlow, Susan Crawford

Judy Reiner Advocate of the Year:  Kenny Robinson (Freedom Fighting Missionaries), Jessica Lefkowitz (Hearts for the Invisible Charlotte Coalition)

Instructor of the Year: James “JJ” Flowers (CMS Police), Richard Nelson (CMPD), Melinda Plue (The Arc NC), Jacob Plue (The Arc NC)

Leadership Award: Heather Burch (UNCC Police), Taara McClendon (NCDPS Probation)

CIT Officer of the Year: Randy Down (Pineville Police), Michael Caskey (CMPD)

CDCP Officer of the Year: Ashley Brown (CMPD)

CIT First Responder Award: Kathryn Furphy (Medic), Mary Moore (Medic)

Community Impact Award: Promise Resource Network, Champion House of Care and Project One