Lieutenant Earns Crisis Intervention Credentials

NEWS RELEASE #: 16-098

From left: Captain David Parisi, Lieutenant Charles Kenniff and Colonel Kurt A. Hoffman.

Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight is pleased to announce that Lieutenant Charles Kenniff has become one of only 80 Certified Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Coordinators worldwide.

CIT Coordinators are trained through CIT International, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote community collaboration in an effort to assist people living with mental illness and/or addiction, who are experiencing crisis. The CIT Coordinator acts as a liaison by maintaining partnerships with mental health care providers, individuals with mental illness, their families and the community. CIT Coordinators also provide rigorous 40-hour training to law enforcement officers on identifying signs of mental illness while interacting with members of the public. The sheriff's office currently has 320 members trained in crisis intervention; 241 in law enforcement, 69 in corrections and 14 in communications.

"Mental illness and addiction are two very real issues our deputies are confronted with," said Sheriff Tom Knight. "Having a certified crisis intervention expert on our team only enhances the level of service we are able to provide citizens."

Lt. Kenniff joined the sheriff's office in 1990 and is currently assigned to the Training Section. In addition to serving as the CIT Coordinator, Kenniff is also a board member of the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) of Sarasota County.

On May 24, the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners will proclaim May as Mental Health Awareness Month. The proclamation will take place at the county administration building, 1660 Ringling Blvd., at 9:00 a.m. The meeting is open to the public.