Officer Jennifer Hyatt

On August 29, 2009 I was dispatched to Chiplola Group home in reference to a resident, a woman, who had assaulted a staff member at the group home and become very hostile towards other residents. The crisis the resident was having stemmed from a staff member refuse to make her coffee. The resident was a 49 year old female who was approximately 5’3’’ tall and weighing 200 pounds. The resident had been diagnosed with Mentally Retarded and Autism at a young age and had been living at this particular group home for over 20 years.                     

Upon my arrival I was met outside of the home by another resident and led into a back bedroom through a door connecting only to the outside of the home. Once inside I spoke with another resident who stated the resident in question was highly upset because she did not make coffee for her. She further advised that the resident in question had assaulted her and attempted to assault several other residents. At this time they locked themselves in a back bedroom in fear of the resident in question, as well as the strength she possesses when angered.

I walked out of the back bedroom and began calling for the resident to walk out and speak with me. I located her in her bedroom after hearing a commotion and a female screaming. At first glance the resident appeared frightened and it seemed as though she was contemplating charging towards me. I then began talking to her in a very calm voice. I asked her what was wrong and assured her I was there to help her. She slowly began lowering her voice and agreed to walk with me from her bedroom to a more open area in the living room. We then sat down on the couch and I asked her to tell me her side of the story. She stated another resident made her mad by not making her coffee. The more we talked the calmer she became. Each time she would begin to get excited and worked up again I asked her to take deep breaths which made her smile and seemed to de-escalate the situation. I sat with her on the couch until a back up officer arrived on scene. We sat together and talked to for several more minutes until the director of the group home arrived. The crisis seemed to have been over approximately 30 minutes after I arrived and began talking to her. The director of the group home had the commitment process started prior to her arrival and she was committed several hours later.

I feel that CIT training had a lot to do with the outcome of the crisis on this day. What would have typically ended in an arrest ended much more peacefully and ultimately helped situation rather than hindered it. After being committed the resident was released back into the custody of the group home.

Officer Jennifer Hyatt
Kannapolis Police Department