Detective and Crisis Intervention Specialist is Making His Mark in Missouri
Crisis intervention is often truly a matter of life and death. It requires a precise strategy, a calm approach and the ability to make smart, quick decisions.
The goal of this urgent interaction is always to help the person experiencing crisis to receive timely and skillful support to avoid physical or emotional tragedy. Simply put, it’s a critical, high-performance job for those first responders leading this much-needed task.
Detective Mark Cherry has served as a Crisis Intervention Officer in Sedalia, Missouri for the past seven years. He has gained a superlative reputation for not only handling crisis situations, but also for training officers in how to de-escalate potentially dangerous moments.
“One of the main things is the basics of communication, being a good listener and treating people in crisis with respect,” Cherry explained.
Early in his career, Cherry experienced a highly successful intervention that has continued to inspire him to this day.
“One of my first crisis interventions was with a transient person who we had been responding to continuously,” he recalls. “I was able to coordinate their referral to mental health care and then locate the family who resided in another state. I found out they had been searching for their loved one for 14 years.”
Showing that crisis intervention can have far-reaching impact beyond the specific moment in time, Cherry assisted in the guardianship process and the family was eventually reconnected.
“It’s important to know your resources available to refer the person in crisis to and leveraging the community network.”
Cherry began his career of public service in the United States Air Force in 1988, where he worked patrol, criminal investigation and training. He then became a First Sergeant and was responsible for the morale, welfare and discipline of all Airman within the unit.
“Getting married and joining the Air Force were pivotal in molding me into the person I am today,” Cherry said. “The support I have from my wife, my children and several quality leaders who have mentored me are what inspires me. If not for these great people, I never would have had the opportunities to serve and be recognized as I have throughout my career.”
Once he retired from the Air Force, Cherry knew he wanted to continue in law enforcement. “I have always been driven to serve and help people.”
During his tenure in Sedalia, Cherry has not only served his own community, but also has utilized his expertise throughout Missouri.
He is a representative on the State of Missouri CIT Council, which focuses on the health and safety of communities across the state. He also is a Use of Force instructor, providing training for his department as, well as other local agencies and police academies. In addition, he is part of the Crime Resolution Unit that proactively targets problem issues or criminals who that could potentially negatively impact the community.
With all of the accomplishments and accolades of his career, Cherry points to his children as the greatest achievement of his life. “Being a husband and dad is the greatest of all. Our son is serving our country as a military pilot and our daughter serves her community as an emergency room nurse. I couldn’t be more proud of who they have become.”
Throughout his career in the high-stress world of law enforcement and crisis intervention, Cherry has faced personal obstacles he needed to overcome. “In instances where I needed help, there has always been a person, some training or other resources that has been provided in time of need.”
Those times of working through challenges has built a motto that Cherry shares with others.
“Never quit! If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. And if you can’t crawl, find another way to move forward. Sometimes it is not one step at a time, but one inch at a time.”
Because of his impactful service to his country, his state and his community, Detective Cherry has been selected as a “Blue KC Hometown Hero.” The honor is awarded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City in partnership with the Kansas City Royals. He will be recognized at the Royals game on Friday, August 13.