Two OCBHJI staff were recently appointed to boards representing behavioral health and justice at the state and international level.
Chris Thomas Appointed to Public Defense Services Commission
Chris Thomas, Behavioral Health and Justice Manager at The Center, was appointed to the Oregon Public Defense Services Commission for a four year term in November 2021 by Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walter.
PDSC ensures that public defense services in Oregon are operated in a constitutional and cost-effective manner in keeping with Oregon statute.
Ridg Medford Appointed to CIT International Board of Directors
BY KEVIN RAU, BEHAVIORAL HEALTH PROGRAM COORDINATOR, DPSST
Ridg Medford has been a pillar in the Oregon CIT community for several years. As a police officer with the Ontario, Oregon Police Department, he was instrumental in bringing CIT to his community. His drive and determination to improve police response to those in crisis was not lost on those around him. The High Desert CIT, of which he is a founding member, provides quality training to those in the crisis response community in Eastern Oregon and Western Idaho.
Ridg's CIT reach goes far beyond his local community however. In 2019, after 16 years as a police officer, Ridg decided to make a non-traditional career move when he accepted a position with Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. (GOBHI). He is currently a behavioral health and justice specialist with the Oregon Center on Behavioral Health and Justice integration.
As a representative of the center, Ridg is a member of the Oregon CIT Center of Excellence (CITCOE), a CIT collaboration between GOBHI and the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training.
In addition to his role with CITCOE working with CIT programs throughout Oregon to build and sustain local CIT programs, in his role with GOBHI, Ridg provides technical assistance by facilitating Sequential Intercept Model Mapping processes to help counties identify gaps in the behavioral health and criminal justice systems with the goal of improving crisis response efforts to divert those experiencing mental health crises away from the criminal justice system to more appropriate services to improve the quality of life for those living with mental illness and developmental disabilities.
In 2022, Ridg was appointed to serve on the board of directors for the Crisis Intervention Team International organization. His service on the board will give a voice to Oregon and rural CIT programs across the country. When asked about his goals for his term on the board, he said, "I'm excited for the opportunity to represent Oregon CIT programs on the international stage. I look forward to the opportunity to bolster CIT in Oregon and recognition of the unique needs of rural CIT programs."
Ridg is a nationally Certified Crisis Intervention Specialist instructor, a mental health first aid instructor, a trauma informed care instructor, a qualified sequential intercept model mapping workshop facilitator, a certified crisis intervention team coordinator, a juvenile fire-setter intervention specialist, and a nationally certified anger management specialist. Ridg is passionate about teaching and has taught crisis intervention and officer wellness topics at local, regional, and international levels.
Ridg is very community driven and serves or has served on several boards, including being the chairperson of the board for the Housing Authority of Malheur and Harney Counties. Ridg is a passionate outdoorsman and can often be found in the mountains with his family and friends.
Those involved with CIT in Oregon can count themselves lucky to have someone as dedicated and motivated to improving systems and safety for those living with mental illness and developmental disabilities and the public safety professionals entrusted to serve them.