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Corvallis Police Department to Pilot Crisis Training
One of three law enforcement agencies nationwide

The Corvallis, Oregon Police Department was selected as one of three law enforcement agencies nationwide to pilot a new crisis training program being developed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. The intensive, 40-hour training program is designed to prepare police officers in their response to people experiencing crises related to behavioral health conditions, as well as intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Crisis Response and Intervention Training (CRIT) course took place in Corvallis at the end of May and involved law enforcement staff from the Corvallis Police Department, Albany Police Department, and the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.

Local agencies have been training on crisis response techniques for many years, but this new program represents a supposed more inclusive approach to issues like substance abuse and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Our goal here is to give officers a better understanding and recognition of mental health and disability awareness crisis communications, and to equip them with the latest de-escalation tools that they can take back to their agencies,” said Trevor Anderson, a police officer in CPD’s Community Livability Unit who helped coordinate the training. “We also want to connect law enforcement staff with resources in the community. It’s important for officers to understand that they are not an island, and there are local resources they can call on during a crisis response.”

The curriculum focused on topics such as mental health, trauma and post-traumatic stress, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders. Each module featured trainers and subject matter experts who shared the latest evolving thinking on each of these complex topics. Throughout the five-day training course, instructors and researchers encouraged attendees to provide feedback on the content and practical applicability of the training course.

“There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t have an opportunity to use these tools and techniques,” said Benton County Sheriff’s Deputy Colin Tominey, shortly after participating in a roleplay scenario that featured a series of interactions with an adult with autism.



The city says the training also highlighted the opportunity to make meaningful improvements to the limited array of crisis resources in Corvallis and Benton County — something Tominey says he understands all too well.

“In law enforcement, we have two choices when responding to a person experiencing a crisis: take them to the hospital if they are sick or a danger to themselves, or take them to jail if they are committing a crime,” Tominey explained. “We need additional resources, like a drop-in crisis center and support programs, to give us that viable third option.”

The training course was developed by researchers from the University of Cincinnati and facilitated by Policy Research Associates, a consulting firm focused on behavioral health issues.

Key local partners included The Arc of Benton County as well as the Benton County Health Department. Moving forward, the instructors will refine the curriculum using data and feedback gathered in Corvallis and the other two pilot sites (Pittsburgh and Rapid City, South Dakota).

The eventual goal is to offer the training nationwide so that law enforcement agencies around the country can benefit from the latest approach to this critical topic.

“Bringing this new training opportunity to Corvallis was an incredible achievement,” said Corvallis Police Chief Nick Hurley. “We are excited to grow this program and help roll it out around the nation.”

--Bruce Armstrong

Post Date: 2022-06-01 16:56:05Last Update: 2022-06-01 20:20:32

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