Utah Department of Corrections

UDC officer receives crisis intervention award

 

Muniz 1a

Brandee Casias, CIT Utah director (left), Sgt. Carl Muniz (center) and Liane Frederick, deputy director CIT Utah (right).

 

Congrats to UDC Sgt. Carl Muniz for being named the Utah Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year!

The Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health and the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Utah (NAMI Utah) presented the award to Sgt. Muniz Friday at the 9th Annual NAMI Utah State Conference.

More than 90 departments and agencies throughout the state have received Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training in Utah. The training teaches law enforcement officers and others about mental health disorders and tactics to effectively and peacefully deal with someone experiencing a mental health crisis.

Sgt. Muniz has worked for the Utah Department of Corrections for 10 years and is currently assigned to the Uinta 2 facility. He oversees the Maximum Security Gang Unit at the Utah State Prison.

His masterful grasp of CIT skills have prevented staff and inmates from being injured during disturbances and allowed him to bring a peaceful end to numerous volatile situations.  One example: Last year, Muniz was able to get an inmate who had threatened to kill an officer and broken a sprinkler in his cell to submit to being handcuffed without further incident or injury.

Muniz has been able to get the same response from inmates on many occasions so far this year — including from an inmate who had assaulted another inmate, from two inmates who had refused to return to their cells and from an inmate who would not allow officers to handcuff him to facilitate a move.

In a nomination letter, Muniz was described as a “great leader” who encourages other staff to learn CIT skills and “an icon of the successes of CIT and its ability to work.”

Sgt. Muniz will represent Utah at the 2015 CIT International Conference in Chicago. 

Utah’s CIT program for Corrections is co-sponsored by the Utah Department of Corrections and the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Department. It was launched in 2007 and was the first CIT for Corrections in the nation.

Two other UDC employees were among the seven finalists for the award: Officer Genny Taylor, who works in the Timpanogos Women’s Facility, and Sgt. Richard Port, who works at the Central Utah Correctional Facility.

Port is considered the “go-to” officer whenever there is a critical incident at the Gunnison prison and has a way of “making offenders feel at ease and calmer.”

He has “talked many offenders into cooperating with staff and he has changed dangerous situations into safe outcomes for staff and offenders,” his nomination letter said.

Taylor’s nomination letter said she “goes above and beyond, often studying on her own about gender responsive ideals that are being fostered by the UDC administration” and is “cheerfully willing to help and has a genuine concern and resolve to use her personal and communicative skills to intervene in the women’s prison facility or wherever she is needed.”

Congrats to Sgt. Muniz, Officer Taylor and Sgt. Port!