Portage County – The 2011 CIT Officer of the Year Award went to two veteran law enforcement professionals who were among the first trained in Portage County in the national crisis intervention program.Lt. Dale Korman of the Windham Police Department and Lt. Gregory Johnson of the Portage County Sheriff’s Office received the recognition from the Mental Health & Recovery Board and the Portage County Police Chiefs’ Association.The annual award is given to a law enforcement professional who demonstrates the values and principles of the national Crisis Intervention Team training. The training provides police officers and other professionals who work in the legal system with the tools and knowledge to work with persons in crisis who may have a mental illness. The training’s goal is to ensure the safety of the person as well as that of the officer.Nominated by Sheriff Dave Doak, Lt. Johnson successfully completed a Summit County class in 2002. “I have always tried to put myself in the position of the person I am dealing with and try to treat them as I would want to be treated,” Johnson explained. “The CIT training gave me the tools to help me understand the emotional issues facing a person in crisis and to also to be compassionate in helping them deal with those issues.” Lt. Johnson worked in his family’s business until 1994 when he went through Ohio Peace Officer’s Training. He then joined the Portage County Sheriff’s Office as a road patrol deputy. Now Chief of Detectives, he related that CIT training gave him a new level of confidence when dealing with people in crisis. He is also a Taser instructor and has advanced training in investigations for homicides, response for domestic violence and handling high profile trials.“CIT reinforces the fact that as a first responder, we cannot forget the impact our words and actions can have on a person. We can never forget the influence we have in helping a person make the right decision. Our conduct can make the difference in a person choosing life over death,” Johnson said.Lt. Johnson, a Brimfield Township resident, said his goal is to continue to provide dedicated service to the citizens of Portage County.“This is a job where you get personal satisfaction from the things that few people ever see. Sometimes it is a thank you, sometimes a hand shake, sometimes even a hug. Going home knowing that you made a positive impact on someone is what counts. The public recognition is nice but it is the personal ones that keep you going no matter how rough it gets,” he emphasized. Nominated by Windham Police Chief Gene Fixler, Lt. Korman has been a commissioned officer for 14 years. He was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, earned a degree from Kent State University in 1986 and is also a graduate of The University of Akron Police Academy. He was hired in 1995 as an auxiliary officer of the Tallmadge Police Department and then joined Windham Police in 1997.His life-long goal has always been to help people and he vows to continue to serve as long as he is able.A resident of Atwater Township, Korman is a firearms instructor, detective and criminal investigator for the Windham Department, a TASER instructor and has received state and local Anti-Terrorism training. He successfully completed CIT training in Summit County in 2003.“CIT has given me a better understanding of how to deal with people who are in crisis and need help,” Korman explained. “It has taught me that anyone can need help at some time or another and that most people just want to be treated with some kindness or respect.” ??He knows the training is effective when he sees a resident he has worked with who thanks him for the way a situation was handled. “Unfortunately, due to the transient nature of the residents, I seldom get to follow up, but those who I have had the opportunity to help have been appreciative,” Korman added.?Other officers honored with the award have been: Sgt. Andy Suvada of the Streetsboro Police Department who was also Ohio CIT Officer of the Year in 2008, Officer Michquel Penn Officer of Kent State University Police Services in 2009 and Officer Jeff Futo, also of KSU Police Services, in 2010.