Wise County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Dalton ‘Moose’ Cress Receives Award

The Virginia Crisis Intervention Team Coalition Award for 2020 CIT Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Is Presented To Deputy Dalton Cress of the Wise County Sheriff’s Office. In Recognition of His Achievements as a CIT Deputy Serving the Commonwealth of Virginia and the PD1 CIT Program on January 27, 2021
Wise County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Dalton Cress, known to many as ‘Moose,’ began his career with the Sheriff’s Office in March 2017, after stints at the Town of Pound and Town of Wise Police Departments. Before being hired as a Police Officer, Dalton frequently performed ride-alongs with members of the Sheriff’s Office, an act that seemed to add fuel to Dalton’s desire to make his community a better one to live in. During his law enforcement career, Dalton has shown a keen interest and extraordinary skill in removing impaired drivers from the roadways of Virginia, earning regional recognition as a top performer from Mothers Against Drunk Driving in 2018.
Even prior to completing Crisis Intervention Training in March of 2020, Dalton was consistently observed displaying professionalism, maturity, and a compassion towards others that exceeds what may be expected from an officer with so few years in the profession. In the world of law enforcement, Dalton understands that there are times a firm stance is appropriate and there are times that a more compassionate approach better serves the community and the individual. Immediately after completing Core CIT Training in March 2020, Dalton further stepped-up his game in exemplifying his commitment to the principles of CIT by utilizing his CIT skills on more than one occasion in order to de-escalate crisis situations in the field.
One example was his ability to calm a gentleman in May of this year who was in acute crisis and intoxicated and therefore highly fearful of exiting his home, as he believed he would be arrested. Deputy Cress believed the situation was unsafe for him to enter the residence and the subject flatly refused to exit. Using his CIT skills, over the course of several minutes Deputy Cress was able to build a rapport with the gentleman to such an extent that the subject exited his home peacefully and accepted a voluntary transport with Deputy Cress to the PD1 Assessment Center for evaluation for acceptance into a detoxification program. This was quite an accomplishment, as the subject remembered that Deputy Cress had arrested him in the past for driving while intoxicated and felt that he would again be arrested during this incident.
Deputy Cress also utilized his CIT skills to resolve a person in crisis/trespasser situation peacefully. Upon encountering the subject, Deputy Cress found the subject to be homeless, destitute, hungry, and over 50 miles from his home area. Deputy Cress spent over an hour with the subject and determined that a mental health evaluation was not necessary. However, Deputy Cress was not satisfied simply leaving this subject to fend for himself and gave the subject a courtesy ride to a local grocery store, where he purchased the subject food and drinks out of his own pocket. During the time spent with the subject, Deputy Cress contacted several community resources that he had learned about during CIT Training, in attempts to assist this individual. As a result of Deputy Cress’ efforts, the subject was able to find shelter, and have food and drinks, while he awaited a friend to come take him back to his home area. The friend of the subject later contacted Deputy Cress to express his gratitude for treating the subject with compassion, taking the time to listen to his friend, and not simply arresting him for trespassing.
A final example of Deputy Cress demonstrating his commitment to CIT occurred in April of this year. While on routine patrol, Deputy Cress overheard a call for service being given to the shift supervisor in which a person had made statements that he was at his wits end and that he was going to ‘end it all.’ Deputy Cress checked the call notes and recognized the name as someone he had dealt with in the past during other domestic/crisis situations. While dispatch was attempting to locate the subject via a cell phone ping, Deputy Cress asked for and received permission to attempt to contact the subject. After going to the subject’s home and finding no one there, he called the subject back, fully understanding the subject would then know that law enforcement was aware of his statements. Deputy Cress did this, as he felt that he had built a rapport with the subject previously by using his CIT skills.
Upon speaking to the subject by phone, Deputy Cress put every CIT tactic that he could into play to de-escalate the situation. However, after several minutes the subject said he was going to drive somewhere and ‘wait for it to happen,’ before disconnecting the call. Fearing he had failed, Deputy Cress immediately contacted one of the Sheriff’s Office negotiators in the hopes of saving this subject. While quickly briefing the negotiator, Deputy Cress received a text from the subject that indicated that his efforts had been successful as he now wanted help and asked Deputy Cress what he should do to get it. Deputy Cress immediately phoned the subject back and talked him into driving himself to the closest Sheriff’s Office for help, which the subject did, as he was many jurisdictions away from Wise County. The subject has since confided in Deputy Cress that he had every intention of driving to a secluded spot and ending his life, but that after speaking to Deputy Cress, he knew that there was someone that cared about him and that is the reason he chose not to complete suicide.
Deputy Dalton Cress is a shining example of the positive impact that CIT has had on the communities within Planning District One in Wise, Lee and Scott Counties and the City of Norton. Congratulations, Deputy Dalton Cress, and thank you for your Service!

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