LIBERTY — Liberty Police Sgt. Heather Massey is the Tri-County Crisis Intervention Training Officer of the Year.
This is the fifth year the mental health services organization serving Clay, Platte and Ray counties has awarded either an individual officer or a team with the honor, said Peggy Gorenflo, Tri-County’s community mental health liaison.
Gorenflo nominated Massey this year.
“Sgt. Massey is truly the epitome of what CIT is all about,” she said. “I would like to clone her because she does so much and we could use five more like her.”
Massey serves as coordinator for Liberty Police Department’s crisis intervention team. The two defining goals of the CIT international model are to improve officer and consumer safety and help people with mental disorders or addictions gain access to medical treatment rather face incarceration due to these related behaviors.
The program is a community partnership of law enforcement, mental health and addiction professionals.
“I was shocked,” Massey said. “I had no idea. They brought in a citizen from Liberty who told her story. A couple years ago, I was able to help her out. I feel odd being recognized for doing the things I do because they are the right thing to do. It’s strange to get an award.”
Massey has been involved in CIT programming for about 10 years.
Gorenflo said Massey received a recommendation from someone she helped who described Massey as a “calming voice that made me feel safe in the midst of my crisis.”
Massey has given countless hours to provide local law enforcement agencies with the tools and resources necessary to provide safety and professional service to community members.
“Police respond to these situations more than the public would guess,” Gorenflo said.
Massey is also the Clay County CIT education chair, making herself available to new officers.
“She is a great contact person,” Gorenflo said. “She does all this in addition to everything she does with Liberty. I have seen her with clients. She is genuine. She cares. She builds a rapport. Under her leadership, almost all the officers in Liberty have been CIT trained. She is such a good team member.”