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Oakland Police Department Cpl. Estid Lima has a way with people. Whether it’s his nature, his training, or a combination of both, he has been credited with safely assisting Oakland residents through sensitive and often traumatic situations.
Last year, he encountered an elderly man who was having difficulty distinguishing fiction from reality; another man with a history of mental illness who had stopped taking his medication; and two teens with suicidal thoughts. He was able to get each of them the help they desperately needed.
For his work, Lima was recognized as the department’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Officer of the Year. CIT programs support collaborative efforts for more effective interactions between law enforcement, mental health care providers, individuals with mental illnesses, families,and communities.
The award was given during the Central Florida Crisis Intervention Team’s 19th Annual Appreciation Banquet in Orlando on Jan. 31.
“This is only a sample of the cases Cpl. Lima handled during 2019, but it is indicative of his work ethic, his empathy and his ability to handle men and women in crisis without the need for arrest or violence,” said Oakland Police Chief John Peek. “He has shown an excellent ability to communicate with people suffering from mental crisis or just needing some guidance.”
Having started his law enforcement career in 2008, Lima has been with the agency since 2017. He is a retired veteran who served in both the U.S. Navy and Army.
In 2019, Lima was responsible for more than 50% of all of Oakland Police Department’s Baker Acts. Baker Act is the Florida law that allows emergency mental health services and temporary detention for people who are impaired because of a mental illness, and who are unable to determine their own need for treatment.
“This is about de-escalating and not taking them to jail, but taking them to get help,” Lima said. “I believed CIT plays a vital role in law enforcement because we are sworn to maintain the peace and keep everyone safe, including those in crisis.”
The compassionate corporal said his experience and training has played a large part in his success, and that he is grateful he is able to make a positive impact within the community.
“The love for the job, training and experience is what allows me to identify a person in crisis and come out with the best outcome for that individual, the Town of Oakland and myself,” he said. “Arrest is not always the best option.”