Reynolds earns Champion of the Year award

RALEIGH — The National Alliance on Mental Illness North Carolina (NAMI NC) awarded George Reynolds Jr. the 2015 Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Champion of the Year Award during a luncheon at its 2015 Statewide CIT Conference at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh on February 10.

George Reynolds Jr.

George Reynolds Jr.

Reynolds is a founding member of the Sandhills Crisis Intervention Team, founded in 2008, and is part of the North Carolina’s statewide CIT Committee and CIT International. He was instrumental in the modification of the CIT program for telecommunicators, detention center (jail) staff and EMT staff. He continues to arrange important CIT meetings and works to spread the mission of NAMI—providing support, education, advocacy, and public awareness so that all affected by mental illness can build better lives.

Reynolds serves as the Sandhills Crisis Intervention Team resident photographer, taking literally thousands of pictures at events, such as CIT trainings. He has used technical knowledge to convert an audio file of the Hearing Voices curriculum from a CD to MP3 format, enabling the program to be more accessible to others. He also designed, ordered, and arranged for distribution CIT information cards for officers, first responders and other personnel who may respond to crises.

The CIT Champion of the Year away is given to a recipient who models exemplary CIT practices, always focusing on the fundamental mission, which is to divert those with mental illnesses from jail when this can be done with little risk to public safety. He/she supports the local CIT partnership, and is an effective champion for CIT within his/her agency, inspiring his/her fellow officers to support the ideals and goals of CIT.

CIT is a pre-booking jail diversion program designed to improve the outcomes of police interactions with people with mental illnesses. CIT training is usually a 40-hour training program for law enforcement and first responders, aimed at identifying–and effectively and compassionately responding to–police situations involving people in a mental health crisis.

“George Reynolds has been essential to the success of the program in Moore County,” said Moore County Sheriff Neil Godfrey. “He has always been willing to put forth the extra effort that is sometimes needed to complete the CIT program’s work. He continues to work with officers on an individual and group basis to help officers build their intervention skills. He has been and continues to be essential for the success of our CIT program in Moore County.”

Reynolds is an advocate for persons with mental illness, who respects and maintains excellent relationships with those with whom he is advocating. He works to raise the visible profile of NAMI to the end of raising awareness of those with a brain disorder and the scope of the impact on them, their families, and their community.

Four hundred and fifty attendees from throughout the state attended the conference. The theme of the event, “Our Time is Now: Building the Bridge Together,” highlighted the importance of bridging the space between law enforcement and mental health to more effectively serve those experiencing a crisis. The conference was made possible through funding from the Governor’s Crime Commission. Planning was done in coordination with the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services.

For more than 30 years, NAMI North Carolina has provided free support groups, education programs, and advocacy efforts throughout North Carolina. NAMI NC is the state’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to promoting recovery and optimizing the quality of life for those living with mental illness. Founded in 1984, NAMI NC has become North Carolina’s voice on mental illness, serving 34 local affiliates across North Carolina, who join together to meet the NAMI mission. For more information on programs, our advocacy efforts and the 34 affiliate organizations in North Carolina, visit our website at naminc.org

Filed in: Announcements, Health, Latest Headlines

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