San Francisco Mental Health and SFPD Crisis Intervention Team Awards Ceremony Honorees 19-076(a)
The Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Working Group on Thursday, June 13, 2019 hosted the fifth annual CIT Awards Ceremony at the Scottish Rite Masonic Center Auditorium in San Francisco.
The awards ceremony recognized 38 San Francisco Police Department officers who utilized CIT tactics and de-escalation techniques in eight separate incidents to safely and effectively resolve incidents involving individuals experiencing a crisis. Also lauded were the San Francisco Department of Public Health Comprehensive Crisis Unit; the San Francisco Fire Department Division of Emergency Medical Services (EMS6); the Department of Emergency Management and CIT Working Group chairperson Terezie “Terry” Bohrer.
The CIT Working Group is a partnership between community members, mental health advocates, health service providers and police officers working together to provide cutting-edge training for law enforcement officers. The goal of CIT is to train and deploy officers with the skills necessary to effectively address crisis situations in the field. The San Francisco Police Department currently has more than 1,042 members certified in the 40 hour CIT course.
“SFPD is committed to providing safety with respect for all. Our CIT program is helping us achieve that goal on a daily basis,” said Police Chief William Scott. “Through our collaboration with mental health service providers and community advocates and the use of time, distance and de-escalation techniques, we are enabling safer outcomes for the public and our officers.”
The training is designed to teach officers how to de-escalate incidents involving individuals in mental health crisis when time, officer safety, and terrain permit. The CIT curriculum addresses topics that include mental health disorders, medical issues, psychotropic drugs and side effects, juvenile mental health, geriatric mental health, family perspective by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, suicide and suicide intervention, dual diagnosis, vicarious trauma and conflict resolution, suicide by cop, post-traumatic stress disorder signs and symptoms, veteran trauma, and implicit bias.
This year’s honorees include:
- Officer Josh Olson: In June 2018, Officer Olson utilized his training as a Hostage Negotiation Team member to engage a distraught employee of a downtown hotel who was threatening to jump from the roof of the building. Officer Olson initiated what became a 2 ½ hour conversation with the man, who eventually walked back to a safe part of the roof and hugged Olson, stating that the officer had saved his life.
- Lieutenant Mario Molina, Sergeant Salvador Perez, Officer Shawn Fulgado, Officer Carlos Manfredi: In September 2018, after receiving detailed information from the FBI about a troubled man who had contacted the agency stating that he was being programmed to commit a mass shooting, Sergeant Sal Perez from SFPD’s Special Investigations Division contacted Crisis Intervention Team members Lieutenant Mario Molina, Officer Carlos Manfredi and Officer Shawn Fulgado. In coordination with Department of Public Health Crisis Specialists, the SID team and CIT Unit were able to safely engage, de-escalate and detain the subject (who was in possession of four semi-automatic handguns and one rifle) while ensuring he received appropriate resources, including a psychiatric evaluation.
- Officer Carlos Mustafich, Officer Ian Mikulas, Officer Pierre Mayorga: In March 2019, Officer Mustafich, Officer Mikulas and Officer Mayorga responded to a location to detain a homicide suspect who was sleeping in his car. The suspect ignored commands and attempted to evade officers by driving away. The suspect shortly exited his vehicle with his hand in his jacket and yelled, “I’m gonna shoot you, bro!” The suspect then attempted to flee on foot, telling officers that if they wanted to end the incident, they would have to shoot him. After significant use of verbal de-escalation, the three officers were able to take the man into custody without injuries to the subject or officers.
- Sergeant Alexander Kwan, Officer James Sayasane, Officer Jean-Michel M’Bouroukounda, Officer Laura Presley: In March 2019, Taraval officers responded with Fire Department members to a report of a person in mental health crisis who was burning something in their room. Reporting parties said that the person had been in acting in a threatening and disturbing manner; smoke was observed coming through the gaps in the subject’s bedroom door. Under the direction of Sergeant Kwan, Officers M’Bouroukounda, Sayasane and Presley formed a Crisis Intervention Team to attempt to build rapport with the subject. Officer Sayasane was ultimately able to persuade the person to surrender, through the use of team work in crisis intervention.
- Sergeant Lloyd Martin, Officer Brett Noh, Officer John Quilan, Officer Timothy Watts, Officer John Hoge, Officer Rodrigo Labson, Officer Johnny Vong, Officer Alejandro Meza, Officer John Siracusa, Officer Alexander Cephus: On Thanksgiving 2018, Ingleside officers responded to a residence on a report of a family fight. Family members at the residence had previously stated the subject is a violent, mentally ill drug user who is known to resist arrest. Officer Noh and Officer Quinlan learned the subject was armed with a knife and barricaded in the residence, possibly assaulting a family member. Under the supervision of Sergeant Martin, Officers Noh, Quinlan, Vong, Watts, Hoge, Labson, Meza, Cephus and Siracusa quickly formulated a team approach to engage the armed subject. Officers entered the residence and gave the subject verbal commands to drop the knife. Those and other commands were ignored, and as the subject ran towards his family with the knife, one officer deployed an Extended Range Impact Weapon to subdue him. The subject lay down and dropped the knife. Two officers sustained lacerations as a result of the subject’s violent and resistant actions. Officers learned the subject had terrorized and stabbed a family member during the Thanksgiving dinner.
- Officer Isaias Cubas, Officer Fernando Leiva, Officer Francisco Morrow, Officer Adam Lobsinger: In April 2015, a distraught man positioned himself on the rooftop ledge of a San Francisco hospital, threatening to commit suicide. Responding patrol officer Cubas gathered information on the scene, established communication and began to try to build a rapport with the man in crisis. Arriving Hostage Negotiation Team member Officer Leiva continued the communication with the subject as HNT Officer Lobsinger and HNT Officer Morrow quickly worked to gather information to aid in a successful crisis negotiation. Through teamwork, these officers were able effectively encourage the man to step away from the roof’s edge to receive treatment.
- Officer Daniel Casey: In July 2018, Officer Casey responded to a downtown church regarding a suicidal person who was causing a major disturbance. The woman had climbed upon a 15 foot high lectern, was slicing at herself with a broken piece of glass and was threatening to cut her own throat. Officer Casey calmly engaged with the agitated woman, built rapport and was able to convince her to stop hurting herself and climb down from the lectern to receive medical help.
- Sergeant Jason Garden, Officer Luis Archilla, Officer John Cathey, Officer Justin Clayton, Officer Isaias Cubas, Officer David Edgerson, Officer Caden Girvin, Officer Steven Needham, Officer Cody Barnes, Officer Jarred Hailey: In March 2016, Mission Station officers responding to a call of an armed trespasser in an elderly woman’s home located the suspect outside the home holding a knife and wrench. Officer Cubas ordered the subject to drop both items; the subject replied by asking Officers Cubas and Girvin to kill him. The subject advanced several times toward bystanders, forcing Officer Cubas to deploy an Extended Range Impact Weapon to stop him. The subject refused to drop his weapons and insisted Officer Cubas kill him. Officer Cathey attempted to gain rapport with the subject, followed by responding Officer Archilla, who communicated in Spanish with the man. The subject continued to tell Officer Archilla he wanted officers to kill him. Additional officers, including Sergeant Garden and Officers Needham, Barnes and Hailey from the Tactical Unit, provided assistance with managing the scene and developing a plan. Officers created time and distance from the subject and strategically re-positioned personnel in order to give the subject space to move while keeping him from innocent bystanders. Over the course of three hours of communication, the subject continued to indicate he was attempting force a “suicide by cop” outcome. At one point, the man ignored warnings and approached officers in an attempt to prompt the use of deadly force. Officers Clayton and Edgerson deployed 40mm less-lethal projectiles, striking the subject, who was taken into custody without further incident.
For additional information about the CIT program, please visit https://www.sanfranciscopolice.org/your-sfpd/explore-department/crisis-intervention-team-cit.
To view a video about the San Francisco Police Department’s CIT working group, please visit https://vimeo.com/276174398.
To view SFGovTV coverage of the awards ceremony, please click on the video below or visit https://sfgovtv.org.