By Dawn Krebs
FORT PIERCE -- In August, Fort Pierce Police Officer Kathleen Murphy was standing face-to-face with a man holding a machete to his throat. Using her training as a police officer, as well as her training with crisis intervention, Officer Murphy was able to safely disarm the man, saving his life.
She was recently recognized for her actions when she was named the 2012 Treasure Coast Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year at a ceremony held by the Treasure Coast Treatment Center.
"When I was notified I was nominated, I was surprised and grateful," she said. "It was such an honor to receive the title."
The Treasure Coast Crisis Intervention team consists of several law enforcement agencies, including the Fort Pierce Police Department, the Port St. Lucie Police Department, the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, the Indian River County Sheriff's Office and the Vero Beach Police Department.
Law enforcement teams up with mental health professionals to learn how to interact and respond to people with mental health issues. Since the officer training began six years, more than 500 officers all over the Treasure Coast have received training in how to help people with psychotic disorders, Alzheimer's issues, depression and anxiety, autism and other mental issues.
So for Officer Murphy, the incident was something she for which she was well prepared.
"It's an important thing in our department," she said. "It's another tool in our belt to keep the community safe."
Officer Murphy has been with the Fort Pierce Police Department for 22 years.
"I wanted to do something that I felt was important, and I wanted to do something to help the community," she said.
"My father was a firefighter, so I wanted to follow in his footsteps with helping people. And that's what it's all about, the community and helping people."