Crisis intervention training for WPD

Published 8:27 pm Monday, July 29, 2013

Capt J. Pollard, Ptl. Thomas Everett, Ptl. Christopher Cordina, Ptl. Chris Hobbs, Dir. S. Drakeford.

Capt J. Pollard, Ptl. Thomas Everett, Ptl. Christopher Cordina, Ptl. Chris Hobbs, Dir. S. Drakeford.


When law enforcement officers respond to a call, they need to be prepared for any situation, according to Washington Police Chief Stacy Drakeford. And the most important aspect of being prepared is learning how to communicate effectively in volatile situations, he said.

To that end, three patrol officers recently completed the 40-hour crisis intervention training at Pitt Community College: Officers Chris Hobbs, Chris Cordina and Thomas Everett. They are the first three with the department to attend, but they will not be the last, Drakeford said.

“It is our goal to have all the officers go through the program,” Drakeford said. “This is going to be an ongoing process to get everybody through these classes — when they are available.”

The purpose of the training is to arm officers with knowledge — how to communication with the mentally unstable, de-escalation techniques (controlling a situation that could be escalating toward violence) and to improve their listening skills to get to the root of the problem, Drakeford explained.

“Communication is the most powerful weapon we have in this business,” Drakeford said. “Communication and understanding the other individual will allow us to bring situations to a peaceful resolution.”

The crisis intervention training is just one opportunity for ongoing law enforcement education within the department, Drakeford said. A second wave of supervisors are currently attending management development programs at Wilson Community College and Pitt County Community College; another officer is getting certified as a drug recognition expert through the North Carolina Criminal Justic Academy; and the crisis intervention training will be offered to telecommunicators in October. Drakeford said two of WPD’s telecommunicators will be attending.

The purpose of ongoing education increases safety, Drakeford said.

“It increases officer’s safety, the safety of the individual in crisis and the safety of the community as a whole,” he said.