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.