ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- On March 12, 2013 Rockford Police Officers Michelle Krebs and Emilio Marquez received the “Star of NAMI award” at the 4th Annual Get to Know NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) open house held at the Klehm Arboretum.
This award recognizes individuals in our community who have made a significant
contribution in serving persons who experience mental illness.
Officer Michelle Krebs was nominated by the Rockford Police Training Unit. Officer
Krebs has volunteered her experience, as a former employee with Janet Wattles Center
(now the Rosecrance Ware Center), to develop a training program for the Rockford
Police Department. Since the police are often the first person to answer a crisis
involving an individual with a mental illness, a trained officer will be in a better position
to de-escalate a potentially dangerous situation. Michelle continually teaches this
program to new police officers.
Officer Krebs is an 8 year veteran of the Rockford Police Department and is currently
assigned to the Day Cover Shift.
Officer Emilio Marquez was nominated by a mother of a NAMI client who advised that
Officer Marquez has been a responding officer in a number of instances involving her
child who suffers from mental illness. Officer Marquez has been a calming presence for
the mother in moments of chaos. Officer Marquez sought to understand and learn
about the nature of bipolar illness and was described as being neither dismissive nor
judgmental. The mother said he saw beyond the psychosis and only saw the man
behind the illness. I am truly grateful for his kindness.”
Officer Marquez is a 4 year veteran of the Rockford Police Department and is currently
assigned to the Afternoon Shift.
Chief Chet Epperson congratulated Officers Krebs and Marquez for this award
and achievement, saying “The Rockford Police Department continually
develops strategies to partner with organizations like NAMI to seek resolutions that deescalate citizens who are in a mental health crisis.”