Army trains first responders on crisis intervention

By Christopher Hurd, Army News ServiceMay 14, 2024

The Special Victims Capabilities Division at the U.S. Army Military Police School teaches a weeklong crisis intervention team training for first responders. The course is held quarterly and teaches students how to identify individuals in crisis, de-escalate the situation, ensure their safety, and get them help.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The Special Victims Capabilities Division at the U.S. Army Military Police School teaches a weeklong crisis intervention team training for first responders. The course is held quarterly and teaches students how to identify individuals in crisis, de-escalate the situation, ensure their safety, and get them help. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sharilyn Wells) VIEW ORIGINAL
Students in the crisis intervention team training go through a week of classwork covering topics such as first responder wellness, intellectual disabilities, behavioral health disorders, substance abuse, suicide prevention, post-traumatic stress, trauma-informed care, cultural awareness and tactical planning. 

The course is available to all Department of Defense military and civilian personnel who serve in a prevention or response capacity where they could interact with people experiencing a crisis.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Students in the crisis intervention team training go through a week of classwork covering topics such as first responder wellness, intellectual disabilities, behavioral health disorders, substance abuse, suicide prevention, post-traumatic stress, trauma-informed care, cultural awareness and tactical planning.

The course is available to all Department of Defense military and civilian personnel who serve in a prevention or response capacity where they could interact with people experiencing a crisis. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by K. Kassens)
VIEW ORIGINAL
During the final day, students practice the techniques they learned with role-players during a field training exercise. This prepares students to care for individuals dealing with a crisis when they get back to their installations.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – During the final day, students practice the techniques they learned with role-players during a field training exercise. This prepares students to care for individuals dealing with a crisis when they get back to their installations. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Pfc. Wyatt Moore) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON — To help military police and other first responders care for individuals experiencing a crisis, the Special Victims Capabilities Division at the U.S. Army Military Police School developed a crisis intervention team training.

"More and more first responders, whether it be military police, firefighters or emergency services, are running into mental health crises that are occurring on installations,” said Nicole Cunningham, Special Victims Capabilities Division chief.

The five-day course, conducted in collaboration with the Missouri Crisis Intervention Council, teaches students how to identify individuals in crisis, de-escalate the situation, ensure their safety, and get them help.

“We want people who are having these crises to get the services they need,” she said. “Crisis intervention training will give [responders] a different perspective on how to handle someone experiencing a crisis and get them to the proper resources.”

The Special Victims Capabilities Division at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri has held the course quarterly since June 2023 with the most recent class graduating last week. In total, approximately 140 students have graduated from various first responder career fields including family advocacy, behavioral health, firefighters, criminal investigators, military police and chaplains.

Students of the crisis intervention team training utilize the skills they learned during a field training exercise at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, June 14, 2023. The five-day course, conducted in collaboration with the Missouri Crisis Intervention Council, teaches students how to identify individuals in crisis, de-escalate the situation, ensure their safety, and get them help.
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Students of the crisis intervention team training utilize the skills they learned during a field training exercise at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, June 14, 2023. The five-day course, conducted in collaboration with the Missouri Crisis Intervention Council, teaches students how to identify individuals in crisis, de-escalate the situation, ensure their safety, and get them help. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo by U.S. Army Military Police School) VIEW ORIGINAL
Students learn about effective crisis communication during the crisis intervention team training at the U.S. Army Military Police School in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, May 7, 2024. The five-day course, conducted in collaboration with the Missouri Crisis Intervention Council, teaches students how to identify individuals in crisis, de-escalate the situation, ensure their safety, and get them help.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Students learn about effective crisis communication during the crisis intervention team training at the U.S. Army Military Police School in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, May 7, 2024. The five-day course, conducted in collaboration with the Missouri Crisis Intervention Council, teaches students how to identify individuals in crisis, de-escalate the situation, ensure their safety, and get them help. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo by U.S. Army Military Police School ) VIEW ORIGINAL
Students pose for a photo after graduating the crisis intervention team training at the U.S. Army Military Police School in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, May 7, 2024. The five-day course, conducted in collaboration with the Missouri Crisis Intervention Council, teaches students how to identify individuals in crisis, de-escalate the situation, ensure their safety, and get them help.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Students pose for a photo after graduating the crisis intervention team training at the U.S. Army Military Police School in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, May 7, 2024. The five-day course, conducted in collaboration with the Missouri Crisis Intervention Council, teaches students how to identify individuals in crisis, de-escalate the situation, ensure their safety, and get them help. (Photo Credit: Courtesy photo by U.S. Army Military Police School) VIEW ORIGINAL

The students go through a week of classwork covering topics such as first responder wellness, intellectual disabilities, behavioral health disorders, substance abuse, suicide prevention, post-traumatic stress, trauma-informed care, cultural awareness and tactical planning.

During the final day, students practice the techniques they learned with role-players during a field training exercise. This prepares students to care for individuals dealing with a crisis when they get back to their installations.

“I think CIT can save lives because we’re less prone to lethal response or a more measured response when it needs to escalate,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Mike Demmon, who graduated from the course in February. “I think it’s an essential value added. It helps us do our jobs better, enhances justice, makes our posts safer and our interactions with the community safer and more humane.”

The course is available to all Department of Defense military and civilian personnel who serve in a prevention or response capacity where they could interact with people experiencing a crisis. The training is voluntary.

To attend the course, contact the Special Victims Capabilities Division. The next class is scheduled for July.

“I think this [training] is essential to what we do in law enforcement,” Demmon said. “The [Military Police] Corps is supporting the Army mission of taking care of people and CIT is a great tool for that.”

RELATED LINKS:

Army News Service

ARNEWS archives