Eric Weaver, Executive Director
As published in the
FBI National Academy magazine
Eric Weaver is a retired sergeant with the New York Rochester Police Department (RPD) where he served for twenty years from 1985-2005. He was a police sergeant for the RPD for the last 13 years of his highly decorated career. Prior to his employment with the RPD, he served as a Corrections Officer from 1983-1985 with the Ontario County, NY Sheriff’s Department. While with the RPD, he served in numerous positions within the Department, including numerous patrol assignments, the Tactical Unit, the SWAT team, and Internal Affairs.
Eric’s last assignment for the Rochester Police Department was as Mental Health Coordinator, and was the creator, developer, and Commanding Officer of the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), a specialized unit within the RPD that responds to calls for individuals who are suicidal and mentally ill. He was also coordinator of the CIT Basic/Advanced School, one of the largest police mental health-training courses in the United States. Eric serves as a consultant with numerous police departments and their communities in the creation, development, training, and implementation of similar Crisis Intervention Teams. He also consulted for the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services and NYS Office of Mental Health in developing CITs throughout New York State.
Eric is a National Trainer for the internationally recognized Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid programs. He is a former Master instructor for ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), a former SafeTalk (Suicide Alertness Training) Trainer, and served as both Area Director and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Western New York Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
Eric served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Suicide Intervention Skills Trainer Consortium of New York, is a former member of the Depression and Bi-Polar Support Alliance’s (DBSA) National Speaker’s Bureau, and is currently a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)-Rochester, NY Advisory Board. He is a former NYS Police Mental Health Instructor and NYS Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention Instructor, and served as Chaplain of the National Internal Affairs Investigator’s Association from 2002-2005. Eric was the recipient of the Rochester Mental Health Coalition’s 2005 Individual Consumer Empowerment Award, the Genesee Valley, NY Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers 2006 Public Citizen of the Year Award, and the NAMI-Rochester 2006 Consumer Advocate Award, and most recently the 2012 Award for Excellence from the Genesee County, NY Mental Health Association for his work in the area of mental health. He has worked as a consultant for the NYS Office of Mental Health, and has worked at the Rochester, NY Psychiatric Center as a Peer Advocacy Coordinator.
Eric is also former pastor and served for several years as the Executive and Counseling Pastor of Crosswinds Wesleyan Church in Canandaigua, NY. Eric holds a certificate in Biblical Counseling from the American Association of Christian Counselors.
Diagnosed with severe mental illness and hospitalized for suicidality on numerous occasions while serving both as a police sergeant and pastor, Eric openly and honestly shares his story with each of his audiences. He has created and has instructed his seminar, ‘Overcoming the Darkness: Shining Light on Mental Illness, Trauma, and Suicide for Law Enforcement,’ a course on mental health, cumulative stress, stigmas, depression, and suicide prevention and awareness to over 30,000 law enforcement officers and other emergency services personnel across the country, and has taught this course as a consultant for and in conjunction with trainings provided by the NYS Division of Criminal Justice. This seminar earned Eric the Mental Health Association of NYS Award for Program Excellence in 2006.
Most recently, Eric developed and directs his own full time training and consulting business, “Overcoming the Darkness”, in which he provides internationally recognized certification programs, various training seminars and keynote addresses on recovery, mental illness, stigmas, communication skills, and suicide awareness, prevention and intervention, for mental health counselors and agencies, hospitals, schools, colleges, and consumer and community groups. Due to Eric’s experiences in the area of mental health, he has been featured in ‘TIME’, ‘Details’, and ‘Reader’s Digest’ magazines, WebMD, as well as various news publications and local television programs.