EdWatch: Police learn crisis intervention skills

By Amy Cherry 7:11pm, June 17, 2014
VIDEO: Watch role playing scenarios as cops undergo crisis intervention training at Wilmington University in Dover.
Police officers learn valuable skills and are now better equipped to deal with a mental health crisis in free training provided by the state Department of Health and Social Services.

WDEL's Amy Cherry has more in this week's WDEL Delaware EducationWatch.

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State, NCCo County, and Wilmington police undergo crisis intervention training (CIT).

"Dad! Dad!" shouted Biff.

"Yeah, see what I mean? Out of control," said the father.

"Why are these guys here in the first place?! I didn't break the law. What? Because I don't want to go to school," said Biff.

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In this role playing scenario, teenager Biff won't go to school so his dad calls the police.

"He is not my friend, he could careless about me. I don't trust this guy, Dad. Dad!" shouted Biff as the scenario got more heated.

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The officers involved had no idea how the domestic dispute would play out, but were asked to use the skills they learned in their four-days training to calm the situation.

"If you have another side of the story, Biff could you tell me? Could you tell me your side of the story?

"Are you really going to listen to me?" asked Biff with reluctance.

"Yes I am, absolutely," said the officer.

"Do you really care?" asked Biff.

"Yes, I do, Biff," said the officer.

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Corporal Dennis Leahy with Wilmington Police learned tactics to de-escalate the situations he's facings with almost every day on the streets.

"Make things calm, and you can talk to people easier when they're calm. You can't reason with people that are irate; you can't reason with people that are acting with emotions not logic," said Leahy.

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Officer Tobin with Wilmington PD says he'll now put himself in their shoes.

"See and try and feel what they're feeling," said Tobin.

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Officers learned how to identify mental health issues and that arresting someone isn't always the answer--some people just need to be connected to social services within the community for help.

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