ATLANTA, Oct. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Police departments across the nation now have a practical and affordable solution for de-escalation training. The Diversion Center offers a 4-hour online de-escalation training that police officers can complete without taking time off or leaving their department. Budget cuts and diminished training funds will no longer be an issue because this de-escalation training is affordable. Police departments will be able conveniently and effectively provide a de-escalation training that costs $50 dollars per police officer. Compare this to the cost of paying millions dollars for excessive and deadly force settlements. With hostile and sometimes deadly interactions between citizens and officers capturing headlines, this kind of training is critically necessary. Police departments can learn more about this program – and purchase it for their officers – at http://www.thediversioncenter.com/de-escalation-training-for-police-officers.html.
"Police officers have an extraordinarily difficult job," says the Diversion Center's training facilitator Derek Collins, M.Ed., CADC-II, CAMS-III, CSTAS, "and they have to walk a tightrope between their duty to protect and serve, and their instinct for self-preservation. High-tension situations that can happen at any moment really put officers to the test."
Collins has found himself on both sides of the criminal justice system, which gives him a unique perspective on the phenomenon of police encounters gone wrong. He has worked as a correctional officer, educator and now counselor. As a young African American man, he can broach sensitive topics that standard police training may not cover. Today, Collins teaches court-mandated shoplifting, anger management, substance abuse and domestic violence classes. He also provides an anger management certification training and a shoplifting certification training for those that want to facilitate groups to offenders. All of the curricula offered by the Diversion Center are based on solid concepts like cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing and emotional intelligence.
"We teach police officers how to de-escalate someone who is going through a mental health or emotional crisis, and teach officers the difference between danger and fear," he adds. "Police officers cannot let fear, anger, or bias dictate their actions – that's how tragedies happen." De-escalation can be achieved with patience, empathy, and the understanding human behavior."
High-profile incidents of police misconduct, excessive force and bad judgment have been all over the news media lately. According to the Times-Picayune (New Orleans), legal fees and settlements paid by the nation's largest police departments have reached astronomical levels. Baltimore, Maryland, for example, spent $5.7 million on settlements from 2011 to 2014. More recently, the Freddie Gray case cost the city $6.4 million. Those millions of dollars could obviously have been better spent on improving city services. Moreover, small and mid-sized police departments could never absorb these losses. That's why effective training from the get-go is the better solution to improving police interactions with the public.
The Diversion Center's new de-escalation training curriculum covers the following objectives:
- Learn to de-escalate when a subject is experiencing a mental health crisis.
- Remove the negative thought process of Symbolic Opponent Syndrome.
- Increase cultural sensitivity, empathy and respect.
- Understand how excessive force can jeopardize careers and lives.
- Learn how trauma and unresolved issues can influence judgment.
- Develop new tools for managing one's response to anger.
- Change perceptions, prejudices, values, thought management and social conditioning.
- Increase self-awareness and social skills, and learn preventative strategies to avoid escalations entirely.
- Understand the difference between fear and anger.
The Diversion Center recently launched its live and online de-escalation training program and has gained interest from numerous police departments locally and abroad. According to AJC.com, Georgia has recently committed to require four additional hours of annual training for Georgia's 57,000 sworn officers and expand a program focusing on mental health crises. Other states are also following suite to increase their crisis intervention and de-escalation training efforts. With the overhaul of new training initiatives, police officials struggle to balance training with duty. The Diversion Center offers a solution to this problem and ultimately, reduces the burden on the criminal justice system and help police officers become more effective public servants.
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SOURCE The Diversion Center