Public Safety Training Newsletter Available

The Public Safety Training Newsletter began in 2003 as an information source for our customers. Our customers told us that information specific to public safety training was not available. The large publications and web sites had grown too large, too diverse and unwieldy, finding information specific to public safety training was either not available or just plain too hard to find. Listening to our customers, we decided to publish a one-stop source for news, events, technical data, product information & trends and success stories for the public safety training industry.

Interact Business Group

10 Years Later

Now, 10 years later, the Public Safety Training Newsletter has grown to over 8,000 readers and 15,000 soical network folowers. and has become the go to source for public safety training news, trends and events.

Click HERE to see the archive page of past issues and to begin receiving the newsletter.

 

Training for Mental Health Response

Brain Mental Health

Scanning the news over the past few months we have noticed a growing uptick in the number of stories involving first responders and calls involving Mental Health Issues. This got us wondering: What is going on? Are these types of calls for service being placed in a new category? Have they been underreported in the past due to negative public perception? Is mental health (finally) being recognized as a true health issue, not a social issue among the less fortunate in our society? We were shocked and amazed at what we found.

Shocking Stats

One in four adults and 10 percent of children in the United States will suffer from a mental health illness this year. Mental disorders are more common than heart disease and cancer combined — the leading causes of death.

Among all Americans, 36.2 million people paid for mental health services totaling $57.5 billion in 2006. This means the average expenditure per person was $1,591. Within this group, 4.6 million children received mental health services totaling $8.9 billion. The average expenditure per child was higher than that for the average American at $1,931.” NIMH

“You’re more likely to see someone having a panic attack than you are to see someone having a heart attack,” says Linda Rosenberg, CEO of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council).

First A Definition

Dictionary.com defines the term “first aid” as emergency aid or treatment given to someone injured, suddenly ill, etc., before regular medical services arrive or can be reached.When you add the words “mental health” in front of it, it doesn’t necessarily change its meaning, it simply redirects it towards assisting someone who may be experiencing a mental health crisis–such as helping an individual who is having a panic attack, contemplating suicide or has overdosed on drugs or alcohol. (EMS World)

The National Impact of Mental Health Disorder

    • Approximately 5 percent of U.S. residents have a serious mental illness,and 10 to 15 percent of jailed people have severe mental illness.[2]
    • An estimated 7 percent of police contacts in jurisdictions with 100,000 or more people involve the mentally ill.[3]
    • A three-city study found that 92 percent of patrol officers had at least one encounter with a mentally ill person in crisis in the previous month,[4] and officers averaged six such encounters per month.
    • The Lincoln (Nebraska) Police Department found that it handled over 1,500 mental health investigation cases in 2002, and that it spent more time on these cases than on injury traffic accidents, burglaries, or felony assaults.[5]
    • The New York City Police Department responds to about 150,000 “emotionally disturbed persons” calls per year.[6]

Common Response Solutions

Responders (police, firefighters and EMTs) encounter people with mental illness in many different types of situations, in roles that include criminal offenders, disorderly persons, missing persons, complainants, victims, and persons in need of care. According to one Texas study,[7] the five most frequent scenarios are as follows:

    • A family member, friend, or other concerned person calls the police for help during a psychiatric emergency.
    • A person with mental illness feels suicidal and calls the police as a cry for help.
    • Police officers encounter a person with mental illness behaving inappropriately in public.
    • Citizens call the police because they feel threatened by the unusual behavior or the mere presence of a person with mental illness.
    • A person with mental illness calls the police for help because of imagined threats.

These are the most common situations in which responders encounter people with mental illness. It is important to realize, though, that when police officers handle some of these situations they do not always realize that mental illness is involved (such as a shoplifting or a disorderly person). Officers may try to handle the situation as usual (by giving directions, issuing commands, or making an arrest, for example) but not get the cooperation or compliance expected, sometimes leading to escalating tension. This highlights the importance of training in mental illness recognition as well as crisis management techniques.

Other Related Problems

Problem of people with mental illness is closely connected to three other problems; 1) Homelessness, 2) Drug Abuse, and 3) Alcohol Abuse- Here are several statistics:

    • Honolulu study found that 74 percent of law violators who the police believed to have a mental disorder were also homeless.[15]
    • In London, about 30 percent of minor offenders referred for admission to a station-house diversion program for the “mentally disordered” were living on the streets.[16]

Solutions

Mental Health First Aid is a groundbreaking public education program that helps the public identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Mental Health First Aid USA is managed, operated, and disseminated by three national authorities — the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health. So far, 60,000 people have been trained in 43 states and Washington, D.C. There are 2,100 trainers, says Meena Dayak, council vice president of marketing and communications.

Participants in the training learn how to detect a number of mental illnesses — including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, psychosis, substance use disorders, depression, anxiety and eating disorders — and how to respond to people who have them. Their response is guided by a five-step action plan, termed “ALGEE,” which stands for:

    1. Assess for risk of suicide or harm.
    2. Listen nonjudgmentally.
    3. Give reassurance and information.
    4. Encourage appropriate professional help.
    5. Encourage self-help and other support strategies.

One of the program’s main goals is to erase the stigma associated with mental health illnesses. “It wasn’t long ago that cancer wasn’t openly spoken about,” says Linda Rosenberg, CEO of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare (National Council). “Mental illness is the last illness that people talk about in whispers.” But that will change, she says, once Mental Health First Aid becomes as common as CPR training — something she sees as inevitable.

Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)

CIT Training is a training program developed to help police officers react appropriately to situations involving mental illness or developmental disability. There are two nationally recognized organizations supporting CIT programs. Both organizations recognize the need for first responder mental health training. Suicide attempts and mental health crisis concerns are recognized as a priority. The organizations have established programs for disseminating recommended standards for developing, implementing and sustaining crisis intervention programs.

CIT Success Stories

    1. Las Vegas Metro Officer named CIT Officer of the Year – Brooke Lavin
    2. Every department in Maine “should strive to maintain at least one CIT officer per shift,”
    3. Mental health squad backs up law enforcement

Mental Health Response, Recent News

    • The NYPD’s Poor Judgment With the Mentally Ill—The death of Shereese Francis has rekindled a decades-long debate over the NYPD’s treatment of the mentally ill. As the first responders to all sorts of emergency calls, police officers are on the front line for just about every social problem in the city, and mental illness is no exception. The department estimates that it handles nearly 100,000 calls for “Emotionally Disturbed Persons” every year—hundreds a day. Every few years, one of those calls goes so badly that somebody dies. (continue…)
    • School Student was BipolarThe family of a Cal State San Bernardino graduate student who was fatally shot by campus police Saturday released a statement late Tuesday confirming that the man was bipolar and enrolled as a disabled student when he was killed. (continue..)
    • Officer Sentenced In Death Of Man With Mental Disabilities—A police officer was sentenced Thursday to more than four years in prison for using excessive force against a mentally disabled janitor who died after being erroneously suspected of stealing money from an ATM. (continue…)
    • Houston cops accused of deadly force on unarmed, disabled man“The Department of Justice announced on Wednesday that its civil rights division is investigating allegations that Houston police officers used excessive force against unarmed suspects including the killing of an emotionally disturbed, double-amputee.” (continue…)

For more in-depth research and study on Mental Health we encourage you to visit and read the following excellent reports.

  1. People with Mental Illness / Center for Problem-Oriented Policing (COPS) – http://www.popcenter.org/problems/mental_illness/print/
  2. Governments Discover Need for Mental Health First Aid / www.Governing.com
  3. World Health Organization report “Human Resources And Training Mental Health
Endnotes:
[2] Lamb, Weinberger, and Gross (2004): 108. [Abstract only]
[3] Deane et al. (1999). [Full text]
[4] Borum et al. (1998): 401. [Abstract only]
[5] Lincoln Police Department (2004).
[6] Waldman (2004). [Full text]
[7] Peck (2003): 6. [Full text]
[15] Green (1997): 476.
[16] James (2000): 538.

Police and Fire Training on a Budget

Police and Fire departments, municipalities, insurance companies, and private driver training companies are searching for an economically justifiable program to reduce risk from the rising cost of vehicle accidents and operational costs.

Challenged Training Budget

Challenged training budgets, near non-existence capital construction budget can overlook the fact that not only do police departments fight more civil litigation involving collisions and pursuits than anything else, vehicle related incidents are the number one cause of Police Officer injuries and the second leading cause of deaths. Firefighter Fatality statistics reported in the NFPA 2011  report also provides startling details into vehicle operations and injury.

A viable, proven and economically feasible solution to emergency vehicle operations (EVO) that is trending upward is the SKIDCAR.  In use today by almost 300 Police, Fire, EMS, Military Security Forces, school systems, and private driver training companies in North America alone and approximately 27,000 drivers are getting a lesson in a SKIDCAR or SKIDTRUCK® each year.

The SkidCar duplicates conditions where spins and skids  occur at low speeds in a controlled environment allowing students to experience what it feels like to be in a vehicle that is about to go out of control and/or is out of control.

Just as police officers need to qualify with their service weapons on a regular basis, the Adams County Sherriff’s deputies also need to qualify in their vehicles” said Lieutenant Rick McNair in charge of the departments training section. “With our ever changing weather conditions here in Colorado and our large area of coverage our deputies must be prepared for any road condition at any time.”

 

How It Works

The SkidCar System is a hydraulically-controlled unit mounted to the suspension on the training vehicle, such as a police car or fire truck, that exactly duplicates the loss of tire traction at very low speeds (6 to 40 mph). Using an electro-hydraulic pump, the mechanism reduces traction by raising or lowering the vehicle’s tires from the road, duplicating hazardous driving conditions such as ice, snow, rain, or oil- or gas-slickened roads. This low-speed training tool teaches drivers how to avoid skids and loss of control. It has become a critical component of many public safety and low enforcement driver training programs. From inside the car, the instructor can control the system’s 20 different traction settings that duplicate a full range of hazardous driving conditions, and instantly lowers the tires to full contact with the road surface. The SKIDCAR requires no special surfaces or traditional EVOC track. Only a relatively smooth, reasonable sized parking lot is all that is required. Because of it’s mobility and use of set-up even small areas can be turned in to a driving range capable of training critical driving techniques and outcomes. Without question, these factors alone make the logistics, cost and time benefits of Skidcar worth serious evaluation.

Multiple Application; Nationally

Nationally the SKIDCAR has found application in many areas in addition to public safety for example the Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation and the Municipal Workers Compensation Fund provides the Proactive Driver Training program for law enforcement personnel and other municipal employees in Alabama.  This program has proven results lowering vehicle accidents and average cost per member/claim. SKIDCAR System has been shown to instill better driving instincts to help drivers maintain control in the most difficult real-life situations.  The vehicle is designed to aid in the development of driving techniques that would be risky to learn in a regular vehicle at higher speeds.  The program in Alabama consists of a day-long session in which students are trained using the SkidCar System. The first hour of the course takes place in a classroom setting. The remainder of the program is hands-on and completed in shifts. Three participants ride in the vehicle (one driving, two in the back seat) with the instructor while the remaining six observe how the vehicle responds and help maintain the training course.

Deschutes County, Oregon  offers SKIDCAR classes seven days a week. Many insurance companies offer premium discounts for completing the course. Classes are offered to all permitted drivers, age 15 and up. Each class offers one hour of classroom instruction followed by three hours of hands-on driving experience. The all-weather driving course teaches students superior vehicle control skills for all types of road conditions. Students learn how to become proactive drivers; to think ahead during vehicle operation so they don’t need to exercise their superior skills. Each graduate is provided with a Letter and Certificate of completion. Deschutes County’s SkidCar Training Program mission is accountability behind the wheel: “100 percent vehicle control, 100 percent of the time”. Course highlights include:

  • Accountability behind the wheel: “100 percent vehicle control, 100 percent of the time”
  • Complete vehicle inspection techniques prior to operation
  • Principles of what makes tires work properly
  • Proper eye placement
  • Proper vehicle weight transfer management
  • Proper acceleration, steering and braking techniques
  • Trail braking techniques
  • Skid and slide prevention
  • Line of sight cornering techniques

Ride and Drive Demonstration

SKIDCAR SYSTEM, INC, the North American distributor of SKIDCAR sponsors several training events each year. Attendees are able to inspect, drive, and discuss training applications for this exciting and valuable asset to your driver training business, academy, or school. The in-house SKIDCAR Mobile Driver Training Program vehicle is attached to an SUV equipped with 2 wheel drive, 4 wheel drive, ABS braking, Electronic Stability Control, and Traction Control safety programs. These technologies can also be disabled for a clear reference of driver training with older vehicles lacking these modern electronic safety technologies.

The demonstration events will confirm that a multimillion dollar driving range, or very expensive wet skid pan is not needed to properly train drivers in vehicle operation, skid control, skid avoidance, and how necessary it is to use good judgment as they drive down the road.  Thought process is the most important component while driving, but many dynamic driving lessons focus on speed and skill first.

Conclusion

The SKIDCAR is unique in the industry as the only device that is adjustable for grip. Many different driving scenarios and environments can be duplicated at the push of a button. Everything from rain, loose surfaces, ice and snow, or just excessively high speed can be experienced in a SKIDCAR.

If your agency already is using a driving simulator and finds it lacking in total training capability the SKIDCAR can add an important element of realism to the driving course.  Getting out of the simulator and into a SKIDCAR can validate the driving dynamics the simulators miss, and connect the learning experience needed to build a safer driver.

We are convinced a safer, more efficient driver, can be developed at a quicker rate. With less behind the wheel time of usually worn out old training vehicles will save agencies.

Here is the contact information for SKIDCAR System at: info@skidcar.com or (866) 754-3227

MERTS Astoria, OR

I has been a number of years. I had a free afternoon and spectacular weather; what better way to spend the beautiful than in Astoria Oregon!.

It has been nearly, 8 years since I last visited  MERTS (Marine and Environmental Research and Training Station) center.

MERTS Sign

Astoria, OR

In 1997 the college hired IBG to develop their strategic business. I am very proud to say that due to very hard work on the part of the college staff and at the time their US Congresswoman Elizabeth Furse (and a self serving plug, a strong strategic business plan) the project received funding from the US Navy and State of Oregon.

What a proud achievement MERTS has become! Their web site states the following Located on South Tongue Point, near the mouth of the Columbia River about four miles east of Astoria, MERTS is growing into the most comprehensive industrial and marine technology center in the Pacific Northwest. This a true understatement.

Main Campus Building

I took some pictures and posted them to the Interact Business Group Facebook page . The burn building was locked that was really too bad. I have never been inside! We were told that the burn rooms are in continuous use not only from the college students but the location fire departments gaining very valuable training from the building as well.

During the visit again we showed without prior notice or appointment. We were told that Bill Antilla and  Pat Killian is still working hard. Two very sold guys.

Congratulation to MERTS keep up the good work.

Fire Training Center: A Success Story

The long journey for the planning, budgeting, design, and construction finally came to a very successful conclusion. Northwest Fire/Rescue District of Tucson Arizona dedicated its long anticipated state-of-the-art Central Services/Training Campus. Back in 2004, under the leadership of Fire Chief Stephen J. Piechura, the district began to realize the vision of taking a leading role in the planning and development of the training center, which is a natural outcome of its purpose and mission statements. The district strongly believes that ongoing, realistic, and technology-supported training is necessary for the healthy growth of its professional fire district. Funding, with the successful assistance of a 2004 bond election was crucial.  In early 2005 the district asked the Interact Business Group to help turn their vision into a reality by developing a strategic business plan. Read Complete Article

Training Center Campus

Training Center Campus

Quantifying Stress in Police Training

by John Wills

We know the importance of training in police work as it relates to our survival. Anyone who is not familiar with the axiom, The way you train, is the way you fight, has probably been hiding underneath a rock somewhere in the mountains. Stress influences the way we react to situations on the street. What we as trainers need to understand, and subsequently structure our courses to combat, is to somehow replicate that stress, and train our officers to win, in spite of the deleterious effects that stress has on our performance.

In 1998, Bruce Siddle conducted research involving officers in an identical training scenario with various stressors included. There are not many studies of this kind, since controlling all of the variables and quantifying results is an enormous task. Nevertheless, Siddle embarked on this ground breaking journey, and titled the work, Combat Human Factors: Triggering the Survival Circuit.

In the study, he discussed a great many things, to include how we shoot. He compared and contrasted Isosceles and One Hand Point shooting, as they relate to close quarter combat.

Continue reading…..

 

JOHN M. WILLS  / http://www.johnmwills.com/
 John is a former Chicago police officer and retired FBI agent. He writes both non-fiction and fiction in the form of novels, short stories, articles and poetry. John is an award-winning author who created The Chicago Warriors Thriller Series. He has published more than 125 articles in print and online (see his monthly article on officer.com) and is working on his sixth book.

 

How Emergency Management Is Changing

Like all professions, emergency management has evolved throughout the years to become what it is today – a defined field of work that’s paving a career path for future employees. The modern concept of emergency management has grown from the civil defense days – when in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a federal office to protect civilians and respond to community needs in wartime. As state and local governments saw the need for programs focusing on emergency management, veterans and retired first responders were the go-to candidates to fill these positions.

Emergency management has had its share of challenges as people – from government and the public – sought to understand what it is and why it’s important. Even though historically there has always been some aspect of emergency management in the United States, hurricanes and earthquakes in the late 1960s and early ’70s were catalysts behind legislation and an increased focus on natural disasters. Then in 1979, FEMA was created by presidential order, and people saw the likenesses between the agency and civil defense. There also was a shift toward focusing on all hazards.

Since the profession was traditionally filled with first responders and veterans, it was a male-dominated field, but that’s changing, and programs are developing to educate the work force’s next generation  …read more

This article reprinted by permission of EmergencyManagement.com

By: Elaine Pittman