Training police

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November 17, 2003 // UPDATED 11:07 am - April 30, 2007
By: Robyn Repya
Robyn Repya

Former Deputy Police Chief Greg Hestness (shown above) and Sgt. Ron Bellendier, direct supervisor of training, built the Minneapolis Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program based on the Memphis program. Bellendier said CIT is offered twice a year to officers who volunteer for it.

The five days of training Day one: A psychologist reviews common conditions related to mental disability (primarily mental illness), including information regarding medication, interaction scenarios and the point of view of a person with such an illness. Day two: Officers review the legal processes related to people with mental disabilities, including a commitment court trip and discussions with a county attorney. Day three: Officers meet people with mental disabilities and their families. Hestness said this is typically the officers' favorite part of training because they can talk with people with a mental disability who are not in crisis to learn about what to do when they are. Community organizations also educate the officers and answer their questions. Day four: Officers work on role-play scenarios, where symptoms of illnesses are exhibited and de-escalation tactics are rehearsed. Day five: Officers take a test on the week's information, after completing taser (a.k.a "stun gun") training. Hestness said officers are also trained in lesser-force restraint and control options, such as using beanbag projectiles and chemical agents.