It's easy to miss the "CIT" patches on Lt. Melissa Abernathy's shoulders. Many deputies with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department wear the letters. It stands for "crisis intervention team" and denotes that those officers have been trained to better understand people with mental illnesses. The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department has a contract with the state mental health department to transport people from crisis centers to other treatment facilities. They regularly response to calls in the Oklahoma City metro of people who are in a crisis and are scared. Abernathy knows how scary this process can be for people. She has a close family member that she has seen struggle. "I know that we need to show compassion and try to be there for them and help them out and get them the help that they need," she said.
Read about one Oklahoman's struggle and treatment here.