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Airport police give hope to those in need
By Roishina C. Henderson

A year after its launch, the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Police Section’s Crisis Intervention Team is making great strides in assisting those in need.

In early 2008, Atlanta Police Chief Richard Pennington and his officers started an outreach program at Hartsfield-Jackson modeled after the Homeless Outreach Prevention Emergency Services (HOPE) program that the Atlanta Police Department operates in Atlanta. HOPE’s goal is to assist individuals or families experiencing some form of crisis. After a year of operating a HOPE team, the Airport police recognized that crisis intervention is the real focus of the unit and changed the name to the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT). It has helped more than 440 people so far.

“We don’t just help people who are homeless,” Pennington said. “We interact with a wide array of individuals who may be experiencing some type of crisis. Our focus is to assist and connect people who are experiencing a crisis with the appropriate social service.”

Pennington added that those services could include mental health services, travelers aid, housing needs and job placement.

CIT officers are trained to identify the issue and remain sensitive. The Airport police work in collaboration with the Gateway Center and Grady Mental Health Services to provide social services.

“Through our daily observations, conversations with travelers and employees, we come into contact with many individuals who are experiencing a crisis,” said Sgt. David Wilson, a certified CIT officer. “At these times, we are able to apply our training and help these people through whatever crisis it is they are facing.”


© 2005-2009 Hartsfield-Jackson News. A Publication from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. All rights reserved.


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