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Columbia Police Department
Officer Dan Wright embodies the principals and skills of CIT in everyday actions when working with the community in Columbia, Missouri. Assigned to the Community Outreach Unit, Officer Wright provides coverage to downtown Columbia, where he interacts with numerous individuals who are homeless and community business owners. Officer Wright reaches out to individuals experiencing homelessness regularly, checking in to see how they are doing, asking if they are connected with services and/or identify any resources needed. Officer Wright frequently stops at the Food Bank to get sack lunches, which he then hands out to those in need as he patrols his area. He has worked on compiling information regarding services or resources that he can share with individuals he encounters and is always seeking ways that he can partner with other groups or agencies in serving the community. He interacts with others in a way that make people feel heard and valued. Although he utilizes the CIT referral process by completing reports, he also takes the time to call the CBHL whenever someone needs services or resources, ensuring that the referral is passed along in a timely manner. One such example of his outstanding service, involves reaching out to a CBHL regarding a family’s desire to best help their loved one who was homeless, struggling with a mental health disorder, not taking their medication, often resulting in frequent interactions with the legal system. Officer Wright arranged a time for himself, the CBHL, and the family to sit down to strategize a plan of action. Upon determining the best action, the family was advised to apply for guardianship. Officer Wright obtained the needed paperwork and sat with the family as they were guided through completing it by the CBHL. He even walked with one of the family members to the courthouse to submit the application, as a source of support. He has made it a point to stay apprised of the progress of the guardianship process. Because of Officer Wright's compassion and concern for this individual, he took the extra steps to bring the parties together so that this would be possible. Officer Wright is a shining example of a genuine care, compassion, and desire to help others. He does this by treating others with the utmost respect and dignity, no matter what their life circumstances. Often it seems that many of our communities’ homeless populations feel invisible, feeling unseen and unheard, as often, people turn their head to look away to ignore the issue of homelessness. Officer Dan Wright, however, looks towards the issue of homelessness, with eyes wide open, with an empathetic ear, with a kind word, an endearing smile, asking how he can help.
Officer Wright received the 2021 Molly Thomas Bowden Officer of the Year Award - to read more: https://www.columbiamissourian.com/news/local/columbia-patrol-officer-honored-for-integrity-and-thoughtful-service/article_3ba855d4-54f6-11eb-8578-8f02b3e1296a.html
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