Police Chief Tracy Roles named GLMH ‘Administrator of the Year’

June 9, 2021

Police Chief Tracy Roles was recognized this week by Grand Lake Mental Health for his work in promoting support for mental health issues in Bartlesville.

GLMH CEO Larry Smith presented the award to Roles during a surprise ceremony at the police department on Wednesday.

Smith said Roles has been instrumental in providing training for Bartlesville police officers in dealing with mental health issues in the community and cited a program that allowed GLMH to supply police officers with in-car iPads that allow the officer to immediately connect a person having a mental health issue with a mental health care provider.

“Bartlesville is a unique community in the fact that they’re one of the first communities that accepted the concept of crisis services into their police cars,” Smith said during the presentation. “They allowed Grand Lake Mental Health to put an iPad in every one of their police cars early on and training to those officers in how to use those iPads. Those iPads (have) become the first responder for the mental health services needed in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. That program is now going nationwide. It’s being recognized as the future of crisis intervention and crisis services to assist police officers in their duties.

“Chief Roles has trained 60 police officers in how to deal with mental health issues, how to intervene and how to do it in the least restrictive way possible to make sure people can get the services they need,” Smith said. “You can see his leadership across the city of Bartlesville, you can see it in police officers and you can see it how they approach people with mental illness.”

Roles credited retired BPD Sgt. Jim Warring for helping to lead the department in implementing measures that support mental health efforts in the community, both prior to his retirement and in his new role as the Law Enforcement Engagement Director for GLMH.

“He’s the one who deserves this award more than I, but certainly I appreciate it,” Roles said in accepting the award. “I appreciate Grand Lake Mental Health and all that you guys do to help provide services to those who really need them. I’m glad that our department is able to assist you in the way that we do so we can help the citizens of Bartlesville. Because at the end of the day, that’s what law enforcement is about: It’s about helping the citizens of our community in one way or another.”