On Aug. 5, Officer Robert Buendia was presented with the 2014 Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year Award.
This prestigious annual award recognizes outstanding work by criminal justice personnel in the safe and effective use of crisis intervention techniques to respond to people in mental health crisis.
Buendia received the award based in part on his response to a call for service involving a suicidal woman. The despondent woman was a recent victim of a sexual assault and she was very upset after finding out the case did not have sufficient evidence for the prosecution. The woman retrieved her pistol and made threats to shoot herself.
Utilizing many techniques taught at crisis intervention training, Buendia was able to speak with the woman over the phone as well as through a partially open door. With some help from another officer, Buendia was eventually able to convince the woman to put the handgun into her gun safe and exit her apartment. The woman was safely connected to resources and services available to people in crisis.
Bothell Police Captain Mike Johnson said, “Officer Buendia did an outstanding job interacting with the female before and after she surrendered. Officer Buendia understood how to treat the person at the conclusion of the event and put the entire call into context which resulted in a very positive outcome for all involved. Officer Buendia’s actions this day may have saved this woman’s life.”
The awards were sponsored by the WA State Criminal Justice Training Commission, the CIT-King CO program in partnership with King County Mental Health, Chemical Abuse and Dependency Services Division through the Mental Illness and Drug Dependency Plan (MIDD) and the Marion County Crisis Outreach Response Team (OR).