BART's Independent Police Auditor attends innovative de-escalation training program

02.12.20

BART's Independent Police Auditor attends innovative de-escalation training program

Russell Bloom, BART’s Independent Police Auditor recently attended an innovative de-escalation training program and provided the following blog post on the experience:

Late last month I attended a training developed by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) at the headquarters of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff. BART Independent Police Investigator, Patrick Caceres, along with four members of the BART Police Department (BPD) also attended.

The day-and-a-half long session was designed for officers interested in becoming departmental instructors in a new and innovative approach to use-of-force. The methods, dubbed Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT), help law enforcement personnel develop the skills, tools, and options to successfully and safely defuse critical incidents by focusing on the engagement of people experiencing a mental health crisis or a situational crisis, including those people armed with weapons other than a firearm.

According to PERF, “The training program is anchored by the Critical Decision-Making Model that helps officers assess situations, make safe and effective decisions, and document and learn from their actions. ICAT incorporates different skill sets into a unified training approach that emphasizes scenario-based exercises, as well as lecture and case study opportunities.”

The training included four simulated incidents during which each of the 50 participants had an opportunity to apply the tactics and techniques that were presented earlier in the session. It was remarkable to see the ways in which patience, empathy, and proactive listening can be used to create the space for the safe resolution of potentially deadly encounters. I am confident that the integration of this training for BPD officers can decrease injuries to subjects and officers and can help to improve and maintain the relationship between BPD officers and the communities served by the District and the Department.

BART Police Chief Ed Alvarez said that after hearing from the BPD attendees, he plans to have the officers that attended the training to work to provide it to all BART police officers in the near future.

For more information about the services the Office of the Independent Police Auditor provides, visit www.bart.gov/policeauditor

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