Scottsdale police officers partake in collaborative specialized training

Scottsdale Police Department is joining other Valley law enforcement and emergency departments for Crisis Intervention Team Training this week. (File photo)

East Valley police and fire departments are collaborating to hold a Crisis Intervention Team Training Course this week in Scottsdale.

The Crisis Intervention Team program was developed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1988, according to a press release.

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 upcoming training will be the 16th class held since launching the East Valley collaborative effort in 2015. Over 450 first responders have been trained and are now utilizing the skills in their respective communities, the press release stated.

“From the first class in 2015, it has been our goal to provide quality CIT training to as many of our officers and civilian employees as possible. By joining efforts with the other East Valley agencies, we have not only met but exceeded that goal. It has been an overwhelming success,” Commander Bruce Ciolli of the Scottsdale Police Department said in a prepared statement.

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

Officers, deputies and inspectors representing Scottsdale, Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert, Arizona State University, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and U.S. Marshals Service 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, May 3, when officers participate in extremely realistic role play scenarios.

Like graduates in the previous 15 classes, this week’s graduates will return to their departments better prepared to meet the needs of the communities they serve, the press release stated.

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