NRVCS’ Melanie Adkins receives state CIT honor

Melanie Adkins, Emergency Services and Jail Diversion Coordinator for NRVCS, was named the Virginia CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) Behavioral Health Provider of the Year at an awards ceremony held last week in Hampton, Virginia. Cynthia Hudson, Chief Deputy Attorney General of Virginia, presented Adkins with the award.

Employed by NRVCS for nearly 20 years, Adkins has been involved with the continued development of the New River Valley’s CIT program, which was the first rural, multi-jurisdictional model of its kind in the United States. Adkins was recognized for her “active involvement with CIT community partnerships and her endless efforts to improve access to services within the region’s community mental health system.”

“It truly is a fabulous honor,” stated Adkins. “There aren’t very many groups that I could be more proud to be recognized by than this one.”

“This isn’t just about recognition of me as an individual, it is also recognition for our highly innovative and progressive program,” Adkins continued. “CIT is very much a part of the Emergency Services culture at NRVCS and we spend a lot of time investing in relationships with our law enforcement partners because they are such an important part of the safety net for our community.”

NRVCS CIT Coordinator Patrick Halpern praised Adkins for her years of work on behalf of CIT.

“Melanie does far more than supervise core CIT program staff from NRVCS,” Halpern noted. “She is directly involved with the management of the program’s community partnerships, infrastructure, training and field operations. Her leadership and involvement is integral to the ongoing success of New River Valley CIT.”

“Melanie is a skilled and astute clinician, an engaging and personable CIT instructor, an honest and magnanimous community partner, and an understated and dedicated leader whose commitment to CIT is unquestioned,” continued Halpern. “Her desire to promote consumers’ dignity and respect while ensuring individual wellness and access to services is balanced by her desire to promote officer and public safety.”

Adkins insisted that the cooperation from the 14 local law enforcement agencies involved with New River Valley CIT has ultimately been the biggest factor in the program’s success.

“We’re very fortunate in our community to have law enforcement partners who are so great to work with,” explained Adkins. “They are just as invested as we are in seeing the needs of our community met and they are always open to collaborating on initiatives that will make our program even stronger.”

Adkins went on to say that the New River Valley CIT program was eagerly preparing for opening of the new CIT Assessment Center in Radford, which will happen later this fall. She added that the program will also be looking to collaborate with law enforcement on development of specific intervention plans for individual consumers, including individuals with autism, and to also look at alternate transportation measures that would help “de-criminalize” the process of emergency custody orders (ECOs).