Kurt Gawrisch, M.A. CIT International Board of Directors
Officer Kurt Gawrisch is a sixteen year veteran with the Chicago Police Department and holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois. Gawrisch is responsible for the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program training for the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and for the Critical Response Unit (CRU) in coordinating hospital linkage for high-risk mental health call outs.
Prior to his career as a Chicago Police officer, he worked in a variety of medical and mental health settings. This background brings a unique understanding and perspective when working with others in developing, implementing, and expanding CIT programs. The “team partnerships” he has developed have created new systems of linkage to treatment services providing safer outcomes for everyone involved.
Assigned to the CPD’s 007th District known as Englewood, Gawrisch assisted in the development of and participated in the Chicago Police Department’s first CIT state certification training in 2004, and in 2007 he joined the central CIT training unit. As an Illinois Law Enforcement Training & Standards Board (ILETSB) state certified instructor, he developed advanced CIT training programs on youth and veteran issues. Since 2008 he has also been involved with the Cook County Sheriff’s Training Institute providing CIT trainings for correctional officers working within the Cook County Jail. Currently, he is working with the Illinois Law Enforcement Training and Standards Board on creating a unified CIT State program and curriculum.
Gawrisch received a certificate from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Crisis Hostage Negotiation Team as a negotiator and is a Peer Support member for the CPD assisting officers during crises and day-to-day struggles. He is currently working with Cook County Department of Corrections CIT training, Cook County Sheriff's Police CIT Training, Illinois Department of Mental Health on the Williams/Colbert Consent Decree, and Cook County Assistant State’s Attorney’s Office Bond Court Initiative.
Gawrisch streamlined police/fire psychiatric intake protocols at area hospitals, and assisted with two new pilot diversion linkage programs for individuals identified in the community as needing non-emergency intervention or who have been brought to the hospital but not admitted. As a liaison officer he assists various state government and private community mental health agencies regarding CIT issues. He is a frequent presenter at local, regional, and national conferences on CIT issues and provides assistance to agencies across the country to create and/or bolster their CIT programs both in basic and advanced trainings.
Awards for Gawrisch include the 44th Annual Kathy Osterman Award - Outstanding Public Safety, City of Chicago (2012), CIT Officer of the Year Award, NAMI Chicago (2011), Unit Meritorious Performance Award for CIT, Chicago Police Department (2010), Mayoral Resolution for CIT, Chicago City Council (2010), and Paul Gerhard Braune Award - Officer of the Year, NAMI Illinois (2010).
As a newly elected CIT International board member, Gawrisch plans to focus on implementing a CIT International certification “stamp of approval” on CIT training including advanced and refresher courses. Over the past years there have been a variety of CIT training materials which vary in content, even within a state, therefore this certification would create a unified standard.