ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Mayor Tim Keller has awarded former Albuquerque Police Department Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) clinician Mark Oberman with this month’s One Albuquerque award.
Oberman, who is retired as of Oct. 1, would work with two APD detectives to help a member of the community who has been diagnosed with some sort of mental illness. The One Albuquerque Award is given to city workers and community members who go above and beyond their service to the public.
“The way it would work is if the field officers encountered somebody who they knew had a mental illness, they would forward that report to our unit and we would do a follow-up,” Oberman said. “My job was to assist for safety, see if the person was in any way a danger to themselves or others, or if they weren’t able to take care of themselves.”
If any of those cases were applicable to that person, Oberman would write a certificate that would allow them to take that person to the hospital for an evaluation.
Oberman has been with the department for five and a half years, but he’s been in this line of work for much longer. Prior to working with the CIU, he served at a homeless shelter and said he found himself doing a lot of counseling, so he decided to pursue a formal education.
With a master’s degree in counseling, he worked at the University of New Mexico Health Department and did social work and counseling. While working there, he met a few detectives from the CIU who would visit patients in the psychiatric hospital.
“When a position opened up with the CIU, they asked me if I’d be interested. It took me about two seconds to reply ‘Yes!'” Oberman said.
When he found out he had one the One Albuquerque Award, he said his immediate thought was how he wished he could share this honor with everyone he worked with.
“I wish people knew how dedicated, courageous and heartfelt the police department really is. It was an absolute honor to work with them,” Oberman said. “In all the years I’ve been working, this was without a doubt the greatest job that I ever had and it was because of the people I worked with.”