At a time when crisis intervention might be more important than ever, one of Bolivar’s own received an award for her dedication to helping community members during times of need.
Cpl. Crystal Rorie with the Bolivar Police Department was recently named 2020 CIT Officer of the Year by the Southwest Missouri National Alliance on Mental Illness for her work with Polk County’s Crisis Intervention Team.
Last year, she was named an honorable mention for the award.
CIT is a law enforcement-led program designed to address community mental health needs, per previous coverage.
Speaking with the BH-FP in 2016, at the inception of the county’s CIT council, Rorie said officers frequently become involved in mental health crises within the community.
“As an officer, about half, if not the majority of our call volume, is dealing with citizens with mental health issues,” Rorie said. “Bolivar has a handful of mental health facilities, which officers frequent on a daily basis. Officers are called to handle mental health individuals on a daily basis.”
CIT’s primary purpose is to train law enforcement officers to more effectively understand the reasons people behave the way they do, Rorie previously said.
“As an officer, you have to be able to determine if the behavior being presented at an incident is based on mental illness or criminal intent,” Rorie said. “If the behavior is based on mental illness, being charged with a crime is not going to solve the issue.”
By distinguishing these different motivations, CIT can create a safer environment for officers and the community and stop the cycle of jail time for those who suffer from mental illness.
Rorie said she feels strongly about the program’s mission and success.
According to a BPD news release, she first completed a 40-hour basic CIT course in 2011 while working as an officer with the Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
“Her commitment to serve those in crisis has continued by attending advanced CIT courses
throughout her law enforcement years of service,” the release said.
Currently, Rorie serves as co-chair of the Polk County Area CIT Council.
She is directly involved with providing both basic and advanced CIT training for the area, which gives local law enforcement officers 40 hours of training for POST — or Police Officer Standards and Training — at no cost to their agencies.
Rorie also supervises the department’s Return Service or Visit Program, or RSVP, designed to intervene for families in crisis after an initial traditional police response to a 911 call, the release said.
To assist in crisis intervention efforts, she coordinates with the State of Missouri Community Mental Health Liaisons and Burrell Mental Health to help connect individuals to available mental health services.
Rorie also represents BPD on the Missouri State CIT Council, where she is involved as a law enforcement representative on the working committee.
Bolivar City Administrator Tracy Slagle said it’s an honor for Rorie to receive the recognition.
She said the city is “very proud to have Cpl. Rorie in our police department, as well as our other officers who have completed CIT training.”
“I’m so pleased the Bolivar Police Department has embraced crisis intervention training,” Slagle said. “With all that is going on in the world, all the challenges people face in life, I’m grateful that we have a police force that looks for ways to resolve and deescalate conflict whenever possible.”
Bolivar Police Chief Mark Webb said Rorie has done "an excellent job maintaining the Bolivar Police community programs."
"I am honored that other agencies recognize the efforts that we are offering to our citizens beyond traditional police response," he said.
Rorie was humbled by the award.
“I greatly appreciate the award, and it is a great honor,” she said. “I could not have done it without the support of my family, friends, coworkers and Bolivar CIT community partners.”