In this episode, Colette spoke with Jen Gentry, who is the Community Mental Health Liaison with the Northwest Missouri Crisis Intervention Council. We invited Jen as a guest on the Building Buchanan podcast because she came up during the interview Colette did with Matt Kneib in Episode 03.
Here’s what Colette had to say about why she invited Jen on the podcast:
Jen has worked to revive the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) in Northwest Missouri and provide such valuable training to law enforcement, along with helping so many professionals connect and continue to build their relationships with each other to best support people in our area. She has helped many professionals and law enforcement better recognize and understand autism and other conditions. This work helps provide officers the skills they need to confidently address the needs and to also better understand the agencies and services in the community that can help.
We learned a lot about the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) here in Northwest Missouri, the Council that makes it happen, and what attending the CIT training is like.
Have a listen below or subscribe on your favorite podcast platform (links below)!
- Link to #BuildingBuchanan Episode 3: Cop on a Mission
- Missouri CIT Council
- NWMO CIT Facebook page
- Missouri CIT Conference
- Dennis Debbaudt
Autism Training & Law Enforcement- https://autismriskmanagement.com/
- Old NewsPress article about the training
(Note: PCS and the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council were also funding partners in this along with the Autism Alliance of Northwest Missouri. The NWMO CIT helped with promotion. Over 130 officers from 9 counties were trained.)
- Family Guidance Center website
- Parent and Law Enforcement resources from Dennis Debbaut
- TRANSCRIPT: Building Buchanan Podcast Episode 08 (PDF)
About our Guest
Jen Gentry is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at Family Guidance Center and has served law enforcement and courts in Missouri’s nine northwest counties as the Community Mental Health Liaison for the past 7 years. In her role as the CMHL, she works to connect individuals in the community to mental health resources, mitigate crises, provide clinical guidance and work to bridge the gap between the legal system and the mental health system. Jen has also partnered with law enforcement to revive CIT efforts in Northwest Missouri to create a CIT Council and local training. Jen not only serves local communities but works at the state level to further expand CIT efforts as well. Prior to serving in this capacity, Jen worked with homeless youth and eventually chronically homeless adults in Los Angeles. It was this work and the partnerships that it required with law enforcement that motivated Jen to take on the CMHL position.
Jen received her bachelor’s from the University of Northern Iowa and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Kansas. Jen currently serves on the Missouri CIT Working Committee as the Marketing Committee Chair and the Education Chair for the Northwest Missouri CIT Council. In 2018, Jen was named Missouri CIT’s CMHL of the Year and was a nominee for the YWCA’s Women of Excellence Leadership in the Workplace Award in 2020.
Jen and her husband Travis have two boys, Case and Brooks, that keep them on their toes and teach them new things every day.
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