Meet The CIT Coordinators
In Missoula County, we have relied on a well-established group of agency volunteer CIT Coordinators to put on annual 40-hour CIT Basic Academies and do their best to improve crisis care coordination between community stakeholders. With the addition of a full-time dedicated Program Manager housed at the Missoula Fire Department, we have an opportunity to expand beyond an annual training and can work toward implementing all 10 Core Elements of a CIT Program as established by CIT International.
Missoula County CIT Program Manager
Theresa Williams is currently the Missoula County Crisis Intervention Team Program Manager which is housed at the Missoula Fire Department. In this role, Theresa is responsible for ensuring program fidelity to the CIT International Core Elements and managing the day-to-day aspects of the program, which includes facilitating the annual 40-HR Basic CIT Academy for law enforcement and other first responders. Prior to this position, she led Missoula’s Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness at the City of Missoula and she also worked in the Missoula County Detention Facility in their Jail Diversion Program, where she provided counseling, case management and suicide assessments.
Theresa Williams has worked in the behavioral health and homelessness arena for nearly 20 years. She initially became interested in pursuing social work when she accepted a part-time position at the Poverello Center in 2003 while attending college at the University of Montana.She is a licensed clinical social worker, has a master’s degree in social work from Portland State University and an undergraduate degree in social work from the University of Montana.
In her free time, Theresa enjoys spending time with her family and two golden retrievers, getting out on the river to float and fish, and partaking in Oula classes.
Favorite Color: Yellow
Something you may not know about Theresa: She grew up on a ranch raising buffalo!
Melissa Brooks is currently a school-based therapist and CIT Coordinator. Previously she has worked in many different capacities at the Poverello Center and at Missoula’s Open Aid Alliance. Melissa is passionate about harm reduction and brings years of crisis response experience to the team. Her current position works primarily with individuals struggling with mental health conditions and allows her to bring CIT resources to the youth and adolescents in need. In addition to her work, Melissa has worked with Missoula’s Coordinated Entry System, under Reaching Home, during its beginning stages, as well as the Missoula Sex Trafficking Task Force.
Melissa chose to be a CIT Coordinator because she loves doing community work and is passionate about making social justice changes on a community level. She believes that CIT is a great avenue to be successful in just that. Her goal as a coordinator is to bring a harm reduction lens to the team and to end the criminalization of mental health. Melissa hopes to ensure that those experiencing a mental health or addiction crisis are treated humanely, fairly and with respect.
In her free time, Melissa is the mother of two boys and a nature enthusiast who loves hiking, running and being outside as nature is her medicine.
Favorite Color: Black
Something you may not know about Melissa: She loves spending time at home and identifies as an introvert
Alex Hall is currently the Administrative Lieutenant at the Missoula County Detention Facility, and a CIT Coordinator. Alex graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Sociology and a focus in Criminology. Prior to her current position, she has served as an Adult Detention Officer, Assistant Shift Supervisor, County Classification Officer, State Hearings Officer, and a unit manager. Alex graduated from the CIT Academy in Gallatin County in 2017.
In her free time, Alex enjoys spending time with her german shepherd, hiking and watching movies.
Thomas Hodgetts is currently a psychotherapist and the Assessment and Referral Coordinator/Mental Health Professional at Providence St. Patrick’s Hospital. He holds an associate degree in Forestry from Paul Smith’s College in addition to a degree in Psychology from the University of Montana and a master’s in social work from Walla Walla University. In his role as a Mental Health Professional he conducts emergency mental health evaluations at St Patrick Hospital Emergency Dept. This relates directly to CIT as he and his partners are the professionals to whom Law Enforcement and the Mobile Support Team bring persons experiencing a psychiatric crisis to. Thomas volunteers as a Clinical and Peer Member of the Missoula Valley CISM Team.
Thomas chose to be a CIT coordinator because helping to train Emergency Service Personnel in how to manage a psychiatric emergency has long been a passion of his. He was an EMT for 15 years, and in those days, the only training they received in Behavioral Health emergencies was an admonishment to "Make sure you're between the patient and the door." This woefully inadequate 'training' put patients and responders at risk, and often resulted in unnecessary escalation of the situation.
In his free time, Thomas enjoys gardening, cooking and playing the autoharp
Something you may not know about Thomas: He is the last person to whom Hoyt Axton sang Joy to the World.
Ryan Kamura is currently the Crime Prevention Officer at the Missoula Police Department and a CIT Coordinator. Ryan was born and raised in Missoula and graduated from the University of Montana with a degree in Sociology, a minor in criminology and a certificate in forensic science. Because he is no longer on patrol, Ryan is able to dedicate more time to CIT both responding to calls and being present to support additional organizations when needed. Ryan is an active volunteer at both local and statewide CIT academies.
Ryan chooses to be a CIT Coordinator because he has a unique skill set for communicating with others and is able to show respect and empathy to those in crisis. He is encouraged by CIT knowing that as a group the community is being bettered in the present moment instead of
waiting and having to say, “I wish we could have”. In regard to CIT in the future, Ryan hopes to continue partnerships throughout the community to continue the success of the program. When not at work Ryan enjoys the outdoors, spending time with family, and going to the gym.
Favorite Color: Blue
Something you may now know about Ryan: His dad’s family originates from Japan.
Cole Moden is currently a unit manager at the Missoula County Detention Facility and a CIT Coordinator. He has worked with the detention center for the past 17 years, during which he has served as an adult detention officer, assistant shift supervisor, and shift supervisor. Cole graduated from the CIT Academy in 2018.
Favorite Color: Red
Gretchen Neal is the current Missoula County Mental Health Coordinator and a CIT Coordinator. She holds a MS in Community Health, a Certificate in Public Health, and BA in Philosophy, all from the University of Montana. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist. In her role as Missoula County Mental Health Coordinator, she focuses on improving the behavioral health system and increasing collaboration between stakeholders. Gretchen serves on the Strategic Alliance for Improved Behavioral Health, as the Co-Chair of the Missoula County Mental Health COAD, and represents the Partnership Health Center on the Montana Behavioral Health Oversight Advisory Council. As a volunteer, she serves on the Board of Directors for Inner Roads, a wilderness therapy program for disadvantaged youth based out of Missoula.
Gretchen believes that “health is the first of all liberties” (Henri-Frédéric Amiel) and recognizes that there is no public health without social justice. She would like to see a behavioral health system that is equitable, person-centered, free of stigma, trauma-informed, and harm reduction oriented.
In her free time, Gretchen enjoys hiking, kayaking, camping, and downhill skiing, and she’s been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for 12 years.
Favorite Color: Yellow
Something you may not know about Gretchen: In her next life, she hopes to be an eccentric philosophy professor.
John Petroff is currently the Health and Wellness Coordinator, Mobile Support Team operations manager and a CIT Coordinator at the Missoula Fire Department. Prior to his current role, John spent 14 year as a firefighter/EMT in Missoula. He has a fire science degree from the University of Montana/Helena College of Technology.
John sees being a CIT Coordinator as a positive change for the system as a whole especially in the responder world. He hopes that CIT can bring positive change to the operation crews at the fire department. In his free time John enjoys working on his cars and motorcycles and coaching CrossFit
which he has been doing for 13 years!
Favorite Color: Orange
Something you may not know about John: He owns a local CrossFit gym.
Ben Slater is currently a Sergeant in the patrol division at the Missoula Police Department and a CIT Coordinator. He was hired by the Missoula Police Department as an Officer in 2007 and has worked as a Detective, Special Weapons and Tactics team member, Field Training Officer and with the Honor Guard. Ben volunteers with Scouts BSA and is a founding member of CIT Montana; he became a CIT Coordinator in 2015.
Ben chose to join CIT when an opportunity presented itself at the police department, as the program offers additional knowledge and background in mental health which allows officers to better identify individuals in crisis. CIT also allows community partners to be able to provide additional resources to those in need.
Favorite Color: Blue
Something you may not know about Ben: He was a professional tuba player.
Elise Watts recently graduated with a Masters in Social Work degree from the University of Montana and is a CIT Coordinator. Elise joined the Crisis Intervention Team when she was working as the shelter manager of the Poverello Center and has continued to be a part of the team while pursuing her education.
Elise chose to be a CIT Coordinator in order to take full advantage of the benefits that CIT brings to the community. Elise’s hopes for CIT are to bridge the resources in the community on a systematic level.
In her free time, Elise enjoys hiking, backpacking, biking with family and taking advantage of the Montana outdoors.