ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Dozens of Albuquerque Police officers graduated Friday from a week-long course dealing with the mentally ill, training the feds say is desperately needed.
Officers who went through the course told KRQE News 13, that even though they were dealing with actors, the scenarios felt very real.
In one case, an officer talked to a woman who had just seen her brother killed. As the woman cried, officers talked to her using de-escalation techniques. Crisis Intervention Training consists of staged scenarios based on events that officers have actually dealt with in the field.
Officers get a chance to encounter people with developmental disabilities, drug addicts, alcoholics, rape victims, and people who are suicidal.
A police psychologist oversees the training, and offers feedback after each lesson.
APD got hammered by the recent Department of Justice report on the use of excessive force, especially with the mentally ill.
Officers said the training is a big help.
“It’s very practical. You can spend a lot of time reading about mental health diagnosis and how things might play out in the field, but what’s really great about this class is that you actually get to put that into practice,” explained officer Tasia Martinez, of the Albuquerque Police Department.
Every officer goes through basic CIT training when they go through the academy. Now, APD wants every officer to go through these more intensive courses.
APD has been criticized for years about it’s handling of the mentally ill. The outrage really intensified after officers shot and killed homeless camper, James Boyd, in the foothills in March.