Local police departments take deescalation, crisis intervention class

Several local police departments participate in advanced CIT training

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Several Tri-State police departments recently participated in training aimed at helping officers enhance their deescalation skills.

The advanced crisis intervention class took place at Great Oaks last Thursday, says Norwood Police Lt. Ron Murphy.

“It was a really good class,” Murphy said. “I was really happy with it.”

As well as Norwood PD, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and Clermont County Sheriff’s Office took part in the class, whose goal was to teach tactics on how to communicate with somebody in a crisis.

“During the CIT class, we teach deescalation skills, and that’s a term meaning, really, communication skills,” Public Safety Services Supervisor Paul Hartinger said. “So it teaches officers how to communicate with somebody that’s in a crisis or maybe suffering from mental illness.”

Alison Fenning is a mental health expert and owns Pinpoint Behavioral Solutions.

“Self-awareness is non-negotiable in a crisis, so if you don’t know yourself and you’re not able to find that out first, you’re not going to be the best version of yourself in a crisis situation,” she said.

Fenning and Hartinger taught the class in tandem with Great Oaks and Mental Health America of Northern Kentucky and Southwest Ohio.

“As we know, it’s really important today in society, and in our nation there is a real call for this kind of training,” Hartinger said.

Murphy says deescalating situations is something Norwood police officers do every day.

“A lot of the discussion was just taking your time and spending some time with people, basically just being a good human and getting people to calm down and helping them get through this crisis,” Murphy explained.

The training was fully funded by a grant through Mental Health America, meaning it didn’t cost anything for the departments that attended.

Fenning says the goal is to have three more classes with the grant. These will happen next year due to COVID-19.

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