On December 7, 2016, Choices of St. Joseph Trainer Lindsay Gilbert, met with CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Lead Sergeant James Langston, of the St. Joseph Police Department and Jen Gentry, Community Mental Health Liaison from Family Guidance Center. In this initial meeting, Mrs. Gilbert’s goal was to introduce herself and Choices of St. Joseph as one of their future collaborative partnering agencies and become familiar with CIT Training (training that provides officers tools for working with mental health and/or substance abuse), their goals, and what it meant for our population (Developmental Disabilities). Little did Mrs. Gilbert know that from that initial conversation, a beautiful partnership would develop! You can see the growth below…
Later on that month, Mrs. Gentry contacted to Mrs. Gilbert to gauge her interest in potentially teaching the Developmental Disabilities section in their upcoming CIT Training (first for the NW Missouri area). She felt extremely honored to be the professional chosen to disseminate such important information to CIT officers-in-training. With the full support of upper management, confirmation was set!
On January 11, 2017, Mrs. Gilbert attended her first Northwest Missouri CIT Council meeting headed by Sgt. Langston and Mrs. Gentry. Mrs. Gilbert, as a representative of Choices, was the only residential agency there for the DD field. From this first attendance, she gathered that she (Choices) was part of something big…something positive for those in need in our community.
To further our budding relationship, she invited Sgt. Langston and fellow CIT officers to attend Choices’ sweetheart dance mid-February. To our individuals delight and staff as well, they did just that! Sgt. Langston and Officer Shannon Hailey danced their way into individual’s hearts and were permanent fixtures in the photo booth. Just check out the pictures attached! It was a momentous occasion as this was the first time for many individuals that we support to interact with police officers in a positive, safe environment. It was the first step in changing some of our individual’s histories with the police. Sgt. Langston and Officer Hailey were treated like rock stars, and their presence made the individuals feel the same way!
From the above, it is clear to see that Choices, St. Joseph Police Department, and Family Guidance Center have a budding partnership that will continue to bloom as time moves on!
Check out the local news report at the link below!!