UWSP Police Chief Tony Babl (left) with Lt. Trina James and the department's therapy dog, Tucker. (Courtesy UWSP Police)

UWSP police lieutenant named ‘Officer of the Year’ by NAMI

By Brandi Makuski

Lt. Trina James is one of two police officers named 2024 Wisconsin CIT Officers of the Year by NAMI Wisconsin.

The award recognizes officers who provide outstanding service to the community, particularly in the treatment and de-escalation of situations involving people with mental illnesses or in a mental health crisis.

James, a 25-year veteran of local police work, began her CIT training while serving as a police officer at the Stevens Point Police Department in 2016, spearheading the department’s team. The program also provided a system for training officers to help one another talk things through following traumatic incidents, an effort to promote emotional wellness on the job.

When James took a job in the UWSP Police Dept. in mid-2018, she expanded on her training with the purchase of Tucker from a breeder in Osseo, Wis.

Tucker, an Australian Labradoodle, is now five-and-a-half years old and makes regular appearances on campus and during other community events.

James, recognized for her work on the UW-Stevens Point campus, has been pivotal in fostering relationships between law enforcement and the university community, according to a news release from NAMI. She has successfully supported students dealing with mental health challenges, earning praise for her empathetic and trauma-informed approach.

James was honored earlier this month at the CIT Symposium in Middleton, Wis., along with Specialist Sonia “Sunny” Schneider, from the Waukesha Police Department’s Crisis Response Unit.