VOCAL Executive Director, Deidre Johnson, met with Henrico County Deputy Chief of Police, Major Todd A. Alvis, and CIT Lieutenant, Cindy Wood, regarding the tragic death of Gay Ellen Plack today.
VOCAL would like to extend our deepest heartfelt condolences to the family of Ms. Plack. We would also like to acknowledge what a traumatic experience this has been for not only Ms. Plack, her family and friends, but also for the responding officers, dispatchers, and the individual that requested a welfare check.
This experience serves as an important reminder of why we support Crisis Intervention Training for first responders in Virginia. VOCAL holds the position that support and education is needed at all levels in order to achieve community and systems transformation.
During the meeting, Ms. Johnson expressed VOCAL’s belief that Crisis Intervention Training, in addition to the presence of a peer or other mental health professional for welfare checks, would go a long way towards supporting everyone involved and preventing a tragedy like this from occurring in the future.
VOCAL joins the ACLU of Virginia, NAMI Virginia, and others in requesting “a full, fair and impartial investigation into the incident.” We also support continued use of CIT training and ongoing evaluations of the program to meet the needs and safety of both those experiencing a mental health crisis and emergency personnel. VOCAL hopes to continue to work with the Henrico County Police and CIT program to ensure the safest outcome for those in crisis.