Wednesday, December 16, 2015

CCSO Deputy Named NAMI Officer Of The Year

Cpl. Stephen Crafton, left, is shown with Sheriff Kevin Rambosk at the Dec. 8 NAMI awards ceremony where he was named Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year for 2015. Photo by Cpl. Efrain Hernandez/CCSO

A Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputy has been honored for his ability to assist students with emotional and behavioral disabilities.

The Collier County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recently named Youth Relations Bureau Cpl. Stephen Crafton as Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year for 2015.

Cpl. Crafton was selected from more than 600 CIT-trained officers in Collier County. For the past three years he has been a youth relations deputy assigned to Gulfview Middle School.

Youth Relations Bureau Sgt. Thad Rhodes said there have been many times that Cpl. Crafton has been called to the emotional/behavioral disabilities (EBD) classroom to assist with a student who was having apparent difficulty getting through their day.

“Cpl. Crafton’s calm demeanor and understanding of how to get on the students’ level to communicate has de-escalated a number of incidences which could have resulted in a problematic situation for the school,” Sgt. Rhodes wrote in his letter nominating Cpl. Crafton for the award.   
Cpl. Crafton’s rapport with EBD students has led to a decrease in the number of incidents in the classroom, said Rhodes.

“The students in the EBD Unit have developed a supportive relationship with Cpl. Crafton, and when struggling to get through their day have asked their teachers if they can visit with Cpl. Crafton to cool down,” Sgt. Rhodes wrote.

Crisis intervention team training is a program that was specifically designed to improve the way law enforcement and the community respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis. Originally established as collaboration between NAMI Memphis, Tenn., and Memphis police, the training has now inspired 2,800 communities in 45 states across the country to offer this program. The Collier NAMI chapter has had more than 900 CIT graduates.

Sheriff Kevin Rambosk has made CIT training a priority for CCSO. More than 600 deputies have been trained.