The police department’s commitment to training continues to be a top priority. We have implemented the 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for each and every officer, and have built off of this de-escalation type training by including a training called ICAT: Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics. ICAT provides officers with the tools, skills and options needed to safely defuse many types of critical incidents. This training was developed by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and the CHPD is one of the first agencies in the state to implement this new state-of-the-art training. This training will complement the proven effectiveness of CIT training as the police department continues to ensure that officers are sufficiently trained and properly equipped to perform their duties at a high level. Our officers are also trained and required to activate their body worn cameras when responding to all calls for service and during all law enforcement related encounters.
We as an agency have continued to evolve our training and policies when it comes to police use-of-force, and will continue to look for ways to improve. We hold the highest regard for the dignity and liberty of all persons. Our officers are trained for several years in de-escalation, bias awareness, and crisis intervention to ensure that we are prepared to perform our duties in situations with the least amount of force needed. All officers at the CHPD go through an initial 40 hours of crisis intervention training, with refresher classes every three years, as well as 12 hours of additional de-escalation training with refreshers.
All Columbia Heights Police officers go through 12 hours of ICAT training to help them better navigate and defuse critical first-response situations. The department chose to provide this training to supplement the crisis intervention, use-of-force, and de-escalation training its officers already receive.
“This department recognized early on how important crisis intervention was for first responders,” said Police Cpt. Matt Markham. “The CHPD is one of the pioneering departments in getting all our officers through crisis intervention training.”
ICAT (which stands for Integrating Communications, Assessment and Tactics) is a program designed especially for situations involving people who aren’t armed with a gun and who may be experiencing a mental health or other crisis. The training program is based off the Critical Decision-Making Model that helps officers assess situations, make safe and effective decisions, de-escalate, and document and learn from their actions.
“We use these skills all the time,” Markham said. “A lot of the people we encounter have mental health issues, and this training allows officers to more rapidly recognize those issues, respond appropriately, and get them the help they need.”
See a list of CHPD policies here.