El Dorado Sheriff’s lieutenant honored by NAMI

Pat Lakey / Mountain Democrat
Lt. Troy Morton

Because of his compassion for those who are mentally ill and for their loved ones dealing with extreme emotional pain, because of his leadership in helping others realize programs and protocols need to improve in El Dorado County, a sheriff’s lieutenant has received an award from a local affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Health.

The honor given Lt. Troy Morton, who has been with the local Sheriff’s Office since 2005, comes during Mental Health Month, with the award presented during the May 5 El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting.

Local NAMI representative Fred Hjerpe, who serves on that organization’s Board of Directors, presented a proclamation to Morton, praising the officer for his professional understanding and his handling of the issues that surround mental illness.

The disappearance of Hjerpe’s 22-year-old son, Louis, diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder that led to the young man drowning in the Cosumnes River in 2017, served as a tragic catalyst for Fred’s involvement with law enforcement personnel. While he and his wife at the time of the tragedy expressed frustration with some aspects of how their son’s case was handled — Fred said Lt. Morton’s conduct has been above and beyond expectations.

The proclamation cites Morton’s “multi-disciplinary approach to the intersection of law enforcement and mental health, his personal commitment to accessibility and the fostering of teamwork and collaboration.”

“Lt. Morton’s leadership has been central to the development and expansion of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office programs including Crisis Intervention Team/Training (CIT) and Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT), while modeling the way to effective relationships between the (EDSO) and our county’s mental health communities such that we can break down stigmas and provide recovery-oriented mental health services throughout the county,” states the proclamation.

Morton began his service locally as a patrol deputy, then in 2014, as a patrol sergeant, he became a member of the CIT where he led that program’s expansion as CIT supervisor in 2015. He is credited with building participation by the mental health community in monthly Multi-Disciplinary Team meetings. The MDT is a collaboration of those who wish to address current mental health situations locally.

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