2016 John J. McAtee Police Recognition Award
2016 McAtee Award recipients
On May 25, more than 230 people were on hand at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis to honor 45 officers as they received the 2016 John J. McAtee Police Recognition Award.
Demonstrating understanding, care and compassion, these officers not only intervened, but also went “above and beyond” to assist individuals or families who were in psychiatric crisis.
Whether encountering a total stranger or someone well known to the police, these officers made a difference in the life of a person in crisis. Here are a few examples of why this year’s recipients were nominated by their department or a mental health agency.
More than a dozen helped save the life a someone who was suicidal, including, talking adults and teenagers off bridges, cutting the noose from the neck of a man in the process of hanging himself, and refusing to use lethal means in situations clearly meant to induce a “suicide by cop” outcome
Three officers spent months gathering information, completing paperwork and searching for a homeless woman in the dead of winter to make sure she received the treatment she needed.
Numerous worked tirelessly with social service agencies, schools or Community Mental Health Liaisons to create long-lasting solutions for people with a history of mental illness.
Several officers’ commitment to making a difference resulted in them becoming positive role models for youth in their jurisdictions.
An officer who interrupted a mother physically assaulting her young daughter who had a psychiatric disorder, demonstrated her commitment to the girl by staying with her during hospital admission, brought clothing and other items throughout her stay, and facilitated ongoing assistance through the Division of Family Services.
Officers who stay in touch with individuals long after the initial incident so they can offer encouragement and ensure appropriate resources continue in order to minimize the likelihood of a future crisis.
The award is named after the late Honorable John J. McAtee. His tenure as a judge strengthened his belief that individuals with mental illness deserve appropriate treatment rather than automatic incarceration, where the illness might not be addressed properly. Each year, the McAtee family continues to be engaged in their father’s tradition of honoring officers.
Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri presents the award each May, and 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the John J. McAtee Police Recognition Award.
Click here to see the 2016 program booklet and read about these officers' fine work in assisting someone in crisis.