A Crisis Intervention Advisory Group (CIAG) has been formed to ensure best practices are used during encounters between police and residents experiencing a mental health crisis. The CIAG has started meeting on a quarterly basis.

“We formed this group to ensure the City responds compassionately and humanely to people experiencing a mental health crisis,“ OKC Public Safety Partnership Implementation Manager Andrea Grayson said. “The group will be instrumental in the selection and monitoring of a provider that will develop and operate mobile Behavioral Health Alternative Response Teams. This provider will coordinate with the City’s public safety departments to respond to low-risk, non-violent calls.”

The creation of the CIAG was recommendation No. 11 out of 39 recommendations outlined in a report presented to City Council in 2022 to modernize the Police Department in the area of de-escalation and crisis intervention.

“Oklahoma City’s public safety agencies have an important role to play in the community’s response to people experiencing a behavioral health crisis,” Jessica Hawkins, CIAG lead facilitator and Director of Community and Systems Initiatives at Healthy Minds Policy Initiative, said. “An effective response to these crises will involve multiple partners in a coordinated effort. By aligning resources across sectors, Oklahoma City can better ensure more people have access to treatment when and where they need it.”

Some goals of the CIAG include:

Channel response to providers who are best equipped to deal with those experiencing mental and behavioral health challenges.

  • Provide guidance in the development and operation of the City’s Crisis Response Teams that will respond to high-acuity mental health calls for service.
    Provide guidance to the City in the selection of a qualified provider that will be responsible for the development of Alternatives Response Teams that will respond to low-acuity mental health calls for service.
  • Identify key indicators to monitor the City’s crisis response system by collecting and reviewing data and reporting findings.
  • Monitor and review the number/percentage of Crisis Intervention trained police officers and Crisis Intervention Team members.

The advisory group is made up of mental and behavioral health experts, social service providers, clinicians, community advocates, academics, other police department subject matter experts, and other stakeholders in the mental health field.

Members of the CIAG include:

James Bridwell, LCSW, MPA
Director of Integrative Services
Red Rock Behavioral Health Services

Amy Cataldi, Ph.D.
Dean; Professor of Psychology
Oklahoma City University

Johna Easley
President and CEO
Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA)

Kim Farris
Behavioral Health Director
OKC Indian Clinic

Larry Ford, DBH
Hands to Guide You Behavioral Health Services

Verna Foust
Red Rock Behavioral Health

Adam N. Griffith
Director, 911 Communications
Oklahoma City Police Department

Jessica Hawkins
Director of Community & Systems Initiatives
Healthy Minds Policy Initiative

Heather Helberg
Hope Community Services

Rachel Hollis
Staff Deaf Interpreter
Sign Language Resource Services, Inc.

Lt. Vanessa Hurd
Crisis Intervention Team Commanding Officer
Oklahoma City Police Department

Nicole Johnson
Clinical Director
211 HeartLine, Inc.

Frances Kersey
Board President, Greater OKC
National Alliance on Mental Illness

Kelly Kipgen
Kelly Kipgen, PLLC

Nadine Lewis
Peer Support Specialist
National Alliance on Mental Illness

Kimrey McGinnis
Director of Clinical Services
Oklahoma Department of Human Services

Joshua Minner
Assistant Municipal Counselor
City of Oklahoma City

Sanaria Okongor, LPC
Manager, Behavioral Health
Oklahoma Complete Health
Founder, Oklahoma Clinicians of Color

Salvador Ontiveros
Latino Community Development Agency

Britta K. Ostermeyer, MD, MBA, DFAPA
Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Chief of Psychiatry Service, OU Health
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Larry Phillips
Program Manager
SSM Behavioral Health

Kaitlyn Ritchie
Director of Programs
The Spero Project

Danielle Smith
Clinical CCBHC Director
Hope Community Services, Inc.

Seleena Smith, Ph.D.
REAL Liberation Consulting Services

Randy Tate

Tony Stelter
Chief of Statewide Crisis Services

Deputy Chief Mike Walker
Mobile Integrated Health Care
Oklahoma City Fire Department

Kaitlynn Wilkinson
Project Director
NorthCare Champions

About the OKC Public Safety Partnership

The OKC Public Safety Partnership is a continued effort to enhance and refine the OKC Police Department’s policies on de-escalation, community engagement and accountability.