Greenwich Police sent Officers Max Rinaldi and Chris Wallace to participate a new kind of training session in Maine, where they joined officers from all over New England.
The state of the art training, established by the Police Executive Research Forum, encourages officers to de-escalate potentially violent situations.
In the training, called, Integrating Communications and Tactics, or “ICAT,” officers act out scenarios that can quickly escalate, with the goal of solving the problem without using force.
Rather, they communicate with the person the officers are there to help, whether it is someone having a mental health episode or someone who may be violent.
Saco, Maine Police Chief Jack Clements said in an interview that incidents of use of force in his department had gone down, along with suspect and officer injuries.
Chuck Wexler, the Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum said in an interview, “The idea originally came when we were in the United Kingdom, where they don’t have guns. Those tactics are actually being used in this country by specialized units (like SWAT and negotiation teams).”
ICAT is designed especially for situations involving persons who are unarmed or are armed with weapons other than firearms, and who may be experiencing mental health or other crisis.
“The idea is all about the sanctity of human life,” Wexler added.
Greenwich Police Captain Mark Zuccerella said, following their training in Maine, Officers Rinaldi and Wallace will become Greenwich Police Department’s own in-house trainers, as part of an ongoing effort to improve the services they provide to the citizens of Greenwich.
“One way we stay up to date with our Constitutional Policing is to train our officers in the most current and best-recommended practices for law enforcement,” he said. “The ICAT training program provides first responding police officers with the tools, skills, and options they need to successfully and safely defuse a range of critical incidents.”