University of Memphis police officer Rickey Moore has been awarded the Crisis Intervention
Team “Officer of the Year” award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
for his service to the Memphis area, including the U of M campus. NAMI is a non-profit
organization that promotes an understanding of psychological illnesses.
Moore said he grew up in a public housing development and often draws upon his experiences
as a youth in a dire setting when dealing with a crisis.
“When you go on a crisis intervention team (CIT) call, you never know what is going
to happen,” said Moore. “The first thing you have to do is to listen to the person.
You are dealing with someone who is emotionally unstable.”
Moore, who worked as a Memphis Housing Authority police officer for several years
before joining the U of M in 2006, said the most important thing a CIT officer can
do when dispatched to a crisis situation is to let the person know the officers are
there to help him or her.
“You just don’t rush in and use force. You try to gain their confidence and get control
of the situation.”
Dr. K.B. Turner, a U of M associate professor of criminology and criminal justice,
helps train officers in crisis intervention. He said Moore was the perfect choice
for this year’s award.
“Compassion, empathy, concern — those are the characteristics that are crucial for
a CIT officer to be successful. Rickey certainly possesses those. The University is
fortunate to have him on board.”
His cool demeanor is a bonus for the U of M campus.
“Being a police officer is not just about locking someone up,” he said. “It is about
getting out in the community and talking to people and getting to know them.”