Scottsdale Police Department hosts crisis intervention course

East Valley police and fire departments are collaborating to hold a crisis intervention team training course.  The crisis course is being held in Scottsdale from Monday, June 13 to Friday June 17, according to a press release.

The crisis intervention team program was developed in Memphis, Tenn. in 1988. It is designed to be a community partnership between law enforcement, mental health professionals, mental health consumers and their families.

The goal of the program is to help persons with mental health disorders access medical treatment rather than place them in the criminal justice system due to their illness related behaviors, the release states.

The upcoming training will be the fifth class held since launching the East Valley collaborative effort in 2015. Over 100 first responders have been trained and are now utilizing the skills in their respective communities, police officials say.

“From the onset of the program last year, it was our goal to provide quality CIT training to as many of our officers and civilian employees as possible,” said Scottsdale Police Cmdr. Bruce Ciolli.  “By joining efforts with the other East Valley agencies we have not only met but exceeded that goal. It has been an overwhelming success.”

Representatives from Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler and Scottsdale police departments as well as the Scottsdale Fire Department will provide the upcoming training. Additionally, members of the mental health community, to include mental health professionals and mental health consumers, will be participating.

Thirty officers representing Scottsdale, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Arizona State University, Surprise, Buckeye, Yavapai County and Goodyear will participate in the training. The course will consist of 40 hours of in-classroom training on mental health signs and symptoms, appropriate medications and their side effects, use of verbal de-escalation techniques, active listening skills and officer safety techniques when dealing with subjects in crisis.

The week of classroom training will be put to the test on Friday when officers participate in extremely realistic role play scenarios.

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