Watauga County Sheriff’s Office

Area Officers Trained in Crisis Intervention

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and Watauga County Sheriff’s Department recently hosted a Crisis Intervention Training course at Watauga Medical Center.

A total of 22 participants including officers from Avery County Sheriff’s Office, Boone Police Department, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, and Appalachian State University Police Department completed Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) at Watauga Medical Center the week of April 30 thru May 4, 2012. Other participants were telecommunicators from ASU and a Chaplain with Avery County Sheriff’s Office.

Crisis Intervention Training Group

CIT is an intensive 40-hour training curriculum that educates officers about a variety of mental illnesses, addictive diseases and developmental disabilities. Officers learn how to better respond to an individual in a mental health crisis and help those individuals receive appropriate care. The objectives of the training were to increase law enforcement’s knowledge about mental illness; to learn about their community resources; to learn how to connect mental health clients to the appropriate services and to avoid incarceration and involuntary commitments when appropriate.

The CIT program is a community based collaborative between consumers, families, the Mental Health Local Management Entity,, law enforcement agencies, mental health providers, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) consumer advocacy organization, the community college, and the medical community.

Law enforcement officers are frequently first responders to people in crisis. Therefore, CIT training facilitates ongoing collaboration between law enforcement and the mental health community. CIT is designed to assist law enforcement officers who respond to incidents involving people experiencing a crisis. Police officers receive training on a variety of topics, including an Overview of Mental Health, Geriatrics, Substance Abuse/Co-Occurring Disorders, Special Concerns with Adolescents, Mental Health Commitment Process, Personality Disorders, Developmental Disabilities, Autism, Suicide, Trauma and its aftermath, Homelessness Crisis Intervention and De-escalation, site visits, and hands on exercises.

The training received in this course will help our community’s law enforcement officers protect themselves in encounters with consumers suffering from mental illness and the knowledge learned will result in safer encounters for our citizens with mental illness.

CIT Roster (April 30, 2012 – May 4, 2012)

Watauga County Sheriff’s Office

  • Sergeant Todd Lyons
  • Deputy William Gilliam
  • Deputy Gerald Townsend

Boone Police Department

  • Lieutenant Donnie Goodman
  • Senior Patrol Officer Dennis O’Neal
  • Patrol Officer James Long
  • Senior Patrol Officer Tylor Greene
  • Patrol Officer Jason Reid

ASU Police Department

  • Senior Patrol Officer Michael Baker
  • Patrol Officer Dennis Fletcher
  • Support Services Manager Sandra Evans
  • Telecommunications Supervisor Angela Stewart

Avery County Sheriff’s Office

  • K9 Deputy Casey Lee
  • Deputy Timothy Clawson
  • Deputy Jack McCloud
  • Deputy Daniel Jones
  • Deputy Ralph Coffey
  • Chaplain Ron Greene

Wilkes County Sheriff’s Office 

  • Deputy Timothy Rhoades
  • Deputy Thomas Cheek

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Police Department

  • Sergeant Mary Carrero
  • Patrol Officer Dustin Clark

Local Agencies Participate in Emergency Exercise

“I would like to thank our community partners from local emergency services, law enforcement and emergency management for their support and assistance in planning, developing and implementing the drill this past Saturday. I think ARHS and Watauga County demonstrated their commitment to excellence in the successful recovery of the patient and our community’s unique ability to come together during situations like this scenario for a successful outcome.”

- Shawn Peele, Chief – ARHS Police

Emergency Exercise August 27th


Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) will be participating in an Emergency Exercise on Saturday, August 27, 2011.  This is ONLY a practice exercise and will involve the following local agencies… Blue Ridge Parkway Rangers, Blowing Rock Police Department, Watauga County Emergency Management, ARHS Police, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Watauga County Rescue Squad and Blowing Rock Fire & Rescue.

Residents and visitors in the high country may see emergency vehicles entering the property (via Summit Meadow, between Hwy 321 and the Blue Ridge Parkway), but otherwise the exercise should not interfere with the normal Saturday morning activities in the area.

Gillian Baker, Vice President for Corporate Communications for ARHS shared, “Practicing our hospitals responses during a disaster is a requirement from the Joint Commission, but also a necessary part of what ARHS does to ensure that our staff are always ready for the unthinkable.”

This Emergency Exercise will provide exercise participants the opportunity to evaluate current emergency response concepts, medical surge response operations and law enforcement response to a location.  The exercise will also emphasize emergency response coordination, resource integration, problem identification and resolution between agencies.

Click here to read the Watauga Democrat article by Kellen Moore, “Training to grapple with manhunt, meth, mayhem”.

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