CCSO Mental Health Lieutenant Honored By Chamber
Collier County Sheriff's Office
Lt. Leslie Weidenhammer is the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Public Service Award For Law Enforcement.
Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Michael Dalby presented the award to Lt. Weidenhammer at the organization’s Distinguished Public Service Awards banquet at the Naples Hilton on Wednesday, Oct. 10.
The Distinguished Public Service Award is given annually to recognize and publicly thank emergency personnel for their extraordinary efforts in keeping Collier County residents safe.
Since coming to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office in July 1992, Lt. Weidenhammer has embodied the “Community, Safety, Service” values that make Collier County a great place and a safe place, Sheriff Rambosk said in nominating her for the award.
Lt. Weidenhammer currently is assigned to the agency’s Human Resources Division where she serves as the coordinator of the Mental Health Unit and as a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) trainer. As a CIT trainer, she has helped train hundreds of criminal justice professionals, including law enforcement officers, correctional officers and dispatchers, in Collier County how to identify a person with mental illness and de-escalate situations when a person with mental illness comes into contact with law enforcement.
Lt. Weidenhammer is also a member of the Collier County Drug Court, Mental Health Court and Veterans Court Teams. In these roles she works with individuals with mental illness and substance abuse problems who come into contact with law enforcement while in crisis. These courts offer an alternative to the traditional court system better suited for some individuals in need of treatment services.
She also serves as a volunteer board member for the National Alliance on Mental Illness where she also works in their youth programs. She is as a steadfast mental health advocate and conveys the message of help, hope and recovery in all that she does.
Lt. Weidenhammer is a true public servant.
In addition to the mental health work she does in the community, Lt. Weidenhammer provides peer support to CCSO members as well as firefighters and EMS personnel in Collier County.
Lt. Weidenhammer has been recognized over the years by various county agencies and groups for her role in mental health advocacy, including Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year in 2011.
Most recently, in April 2018, the Collier County Bar Association honored Lt. Weidenhammer with its Medal of Honor for her work with the county’s specialty courts.
“Her collaboration with our Treatment Courts process has been nothing short of transformational,” Judge Janeice Martin wrote in her nomination letter, adding that in the two years since joining the Treatment Courts Team Lt. Weidenhammer has educated fellow members and worked to connect with participants of the program.
As a child, Lt. Weidenhammer dreamed of becoming a police officer but her parents thought it would be too dangerous and steered her away toward college to be a teacher.
She completed her degree and taught in Indiana before moving to Florida. She went to work for the Collier County YMCA and started an outdoor education program. But thoughts of being a police officer persisted. At the Y, a retired Chicago cop persuaded her to apply with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
Twenty-six years later she’s living her dream and making a difference.
Photos by Cpl. Efrain Hernandez/CCSO (2)