Crisis intervention training allows law enforcement and social workers to practice handling difficult situations


Last week, 20 law enforcement personnel from the Montrose and Delta police, as well as Montrose County and Delta County sheriffs, joined staff at the nonprofit Center for Mental Health, to experience crisis response training at Delta. Local law enforcement agencies partner with CMH on what’s called a co-responder program, so mental and behavioral health professionals can help community members get the right help at the right time, keeping people with mental health emergencies out of jail and releasing the police. Resources. De-escalation training is part of this partnership.

Retired Sergeant Jeff Santelli and his coaches conclude their week-long sessions with role-playing scenarios to allow participants to practice handling crisis situations. Training drills allow officers to practice building rapport with the person in crisis, assessing the scene for safety, asking clarifying questions, labeling emotions, and staying positive. Coaches stop scenes halfway through to ask questions and make suggestions so participants can assess what works and what doesn’t.

Isaac Gallegos is a veteran Grand Junction police officer who trains Santelli’s CIT formations when they are in close proximity. Witnessing emotionally intense scenarios can cause observers to seek immediate disarming of those at risk of harming themselves or others, but Agent Gallegos says respecting the rights of those in crisis is an important part of doing this right. work. Gallegos adds that officers are used to being scrutinized and even filmed during tense interactions, so press participation in crisis response training is encouraged.

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