Recognizing the Need for CIT Training for Dispatchers & Calltakers

Report
Recognizing the Need
for CIT Training for
Dispatchers &
Calltakers
Houston Police Department
Mental Health Unit
Rebecca Skillern, M.A., LPC-S
Police Officer/Instructor
OVERVIEW
 Telecommunicators (i.e., both dispatchers &
calltakers) serve as the true 1st Responder –
they begin the response when they take the
call
 Things to consider when the call comes in…


Possible range of emotions
Obtaining vital, relevant information
1.
2.
3.
Are there injuries?
Are there weapons present?
Identification of suspects/consumers/victims…
OVERVIEW (Cont.)
 Telecommunicators have a very complex &
stressful job function –




Must remain calm & focused
Do their best to ensure the safety of both the
caller and the On-Scene 1st Responders
Balancing emotions (caller’s, On-Scene
Responder’s, and their own)
Being Poised = control of situation
WHAT’S NEEDED
 General Conceptualization & understanding of the
following:
1.
2.
3.
“Crisis” – emotionally significant or life altering event
“Intervention” – coming ‘in between’ or modifying
“Crisis Intervention”
 “the process of entering into an individual’s life in
order to defuse the destructive effects of the unusual
stress being experienced, emphasi[zing] the
immediate management, rather than resolution, of
the crisis.” (Greenstone, J.L.)
What’s Needed (continued)

Simply put…crisis intervention serves as a
form of emotional first aid or emergency
guidance for basic coping until more significant
intervention(s) can be obtained.
 A general understanding of the “Big 3”
Mental Illnesses and crisis emotionality
 An understanding of what On-scene 1st
Responders may be encountering
What’s Needed (continued)
 Ability to recognize Crisis States &/or Levels
of Crisis Intervention
1.
2.
3.
4.
Level 1 – Trigger Stage
Level 2 – Escalation Stage
Level 3 – Crisis Stage
Level 4 – Resolution Stage
 Training in
1.
Effective communication skills (i.e., active listening
techniques and verbal de-escalation techniques)
What’s Needed (continued)
2.
3.
4.
5.
Suicide Intervention & Prevention techniques
Handling angry or difficult callers
Family Violence related calls
Hostage & Barricade Events
 And, of equal significance, an outlet for
processing/debriefing after significant crisis
calls
1.
2.
Psychological Services access
Peer Support Programs with on-site debriefing teams.
Bibliography
Greenstone, J.L.; August 1995. Crisis Intervention Skills
Training for Police Negotiators. The Police Chief.
Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards &
Education; 2010. Crisis Communications Course
Number 2120.

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