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Fairbanks Police discuss deescalation training and continued crisis intervention training

 Out of the 22,000 calls FPD responds to each year, Matherly said that less than 1% result in use of force. (John Dougherty/KTVF)
Out of the 22,000 calls FPD responds to each year, Matherly said that less than 1% result in use of force. (John Dougherty/KTVF) (KTVF)
Published: Jul. 9, 2020 at 4:40 PM AKDT
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Recent events across the country have started a nationwide discussion about police training. Even before this, the Fairbanks Police Department (FPD) had planned to do verbal jujitsu training as well as additional crisis intervention team training. However, COVID-19 has delayed plans.

FPD Chief Nancy Reeder said that the trainings help officers be able to use words to deescalate situations in hopes that physical force will not be needed.

The two-day training was originally planned for May, but complications due to the coronavirus delayed plans. If everything goes as scheduled, the training should be completed in August.

Chief Reeder said half of the department will take the two-day training, and then they will take a day break before the other half of the department takes the training. This way they can have the entire department trained while still keeping the public safe.

The chief said that the trainings are not a reaction to recent events, but noted that the department is always looking to do better. "I believe FPD is progressive and I believe we are doing good on a lot of things. We are doing it ahead of time. But I also believe that we can improve because I think everybody can improve -- and that is the goal," Reeder said.

Another training that FPD is working on providing to all their officers is crisis intervention team (CIT) training. According to Chief Reeder, the goal of that training is to make sure officers are able to properly assist individuals who are dealing with mental health issues and get them help.

Currently around half of the officers are trained in CIT and there were plans to train the rest of the officers, but COVID-19 again delayed the training.

Clint Brubeck is a patrol officer and says that the training helps him with his day-to-day job. "If we learn the skills and are able to identify, then we have tools in our toolkit that will allow us to actually help the person as opposed to arresting an individual because they are having some kind of mental episode. That doesn't do them any good and it doesn't do the community any good," Brubeck said.

According to Reeder, FPD is also working on doing implicit bias course for officers in October. She said they also work with people in the community to make sure officers are trained to deal with all types of situations in the best way possible.

Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.

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