Law enforcement officials hope training for handling sensitive incidents reduces use of force

Law enforcement officials hope training for handling sensitive incidents reduces use of force
Members of the Perryton Police Dept. were some of the officers in attendance at today's class; Source: KFDA
Frank Phillips Community College Allen Campus plays hosts to sensitive situation training; Source: KFDA
Frank Phillips Community College Allen Campus plays hosts to sensitive situation training; Source: KFDA
An official from the Texas Game Warden 's office attended the classes; Source: KFDA
An official from the Texas Game Warden 's office attended the classes; Source: KFDA

PERRYTON, TX (KFDA) - Local law enforcement officials attended a state-mandated sensitive situation training designed to deal with mental health problems.

Law enforcement officials from across the nation receive more and more calls each day asking for assistance with handling a sensitive incident. A lot of incidents involve someone suffering with a mental illness.

At Frank Phillips College, the class is dedicated to teaching about handling those situations in the right manner so they end peacefully.

"Basically what we're doing here today is called de-escalation techniques," said Dalhart Police officer and class instructor Sgt. Rudy Corrales. "[It's] about limiting the use of force when dealing with agitated persons."

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The Texas state legislature passed a rule making training for sensitive situations mandatory for all agencies.

The tools Sgt. Corrales uses stem from large agencies that deal with mental health cases on a more consistent basis.

"A lot of [the teaching guides are] videos from other agencies," said Sgt. Corrales, "[The] information [is] from other agencies that are bigger, and have to deal with [situations like these] on a lot broader scale than what some of our more rural communities have dealt with."

Law enforcement officials hope the class reduces the number of physical altercations

"These communications skills can be utilized in any type of situation," said Sgt. Corrales. "It doesn't matter whether it be a mental health situation or not, it can be utilized in any form. It is extremely useful, however, during mental health because those situations can become very disruptive, very quickly."

The mandatory training is designed to be an alternative to using physical force.

"Not so much completely do away with use of force, because obviously everyone needs to stay safe," said Sgt. Corrales. "Hopefully it is increasing the communications skills that every officers possess and uses, and really emphasizing those skills."

Despite being in law enforcement for over 20 years, Ochiltree County Constable Tim Olivarez still learns new things from the class.

"I've been in law enforcement since [1994] and I've learned a lot in this class," said Olivarez. "It's a lot of good material we are going through right now."

The final goal for training is keeping the public safe at all times.

"We're going through a lot of sensitive training," said Olivarez. "We don't want to hurt anybody, we just want to be there for the community. That's what we are here for: We are here to help people."

Frank Phillips is thankful to being able to help ensure law enforcement gets the training they and the public deserve.

"If we can bring it here to Perryton to them, or to any of our other campuses, than it's a lot cheaper financially for their budget," said Coordinator of extended education for Frank Phillips College Bethany Ramirez. "[It's] also an asset that we can bring to the community law enforcement members."

Law enforcement officials are always staying up-to-date with the latest classes and training so they can handle any situation in the most effective and safest method possible for the community.

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