Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) and de-escalation has been an ongoing division training priority since 2003. The division has worked closely with Wood County ADAMHS Board, NAMI, and local mental health providers. The division has been recognized in 2003 as the ADAMHS Mental Health Advocate of the Year and in 2007 BGPD received the ADAMHS Behavioral Health Leadership Award. Individually, officers have contributed to the betterment of the entire Wood County Law Enforcement response system for mental health. In 2016, Officer Scott Frank received the Wood County NAMI "Making a Difference" Award for his leadership as the Wood County Law Enforcement Crisis Intervention Team Leader. In 2018, Lt. Brad Biller was given the same award for his work on suicide prevention awareness and as an advocate for an improved mental health system in Wood County.
CIT and de-escalation are more than just a concept, it is ingrained in the culture of the division. Officers utilize these techniques on a regular basis, which has resulted in a reduction of officer uses of force.
In regards to officer training in these areas, officers complete initial CIT and de-escalation training in the academy. Once officers graduate from the academy, they complete a two-week in-service at the division prior to working with their field training officer (FTO). During this in-service, officers review division policies and procedures in reference to CIT and de-escalation techniques (see attached Policies 3-1-17 Response to Person with Mental Illness and Policy 3-6-8 Response to Resistance/Aggression (RRA)/Use of Firearms Reporting Procedures under the "officer response" to the situation). Officers then complete practical training scenarios to utilize and hone these de-escalation techniques. In addition to this training, officers are required to attend the NAMI Crisis Intervention Training program. This 40-hour course has been attended by every officer in the police division.
After these initial training courses, officers are required to complete a CIT and de-escalation course at least every 3 years in accordance with CALEA Standards. The division also incorporates a de-escalation component into its annual use of force training (see Policy 3-6-4 Policy Training and Excerpt Use of Force Training 2019 De-escalation). Additionally, officers are instructed to verbalize throughout the entire encounter in order to provide clear directions and/or warnings to the subject as well as to document (on in-car camera body microphone and with other witnesses) that the subject is given warnings, is under arrest, is resisting arrest, needs to drop the weapon, etc.