Schaumburg police are organizing their own Crisis Intervention Team of officers specially trained to use language to de-escalate confrontations with people with particular challenges such as autism, mental illness, depression, and drug or alcohol abuse.
"It doesn't mean they're committing a crime; it just means they're having a crisis moment," Patrol Cmdr. Vince Liberio explained.
Many times, without such training, a responding officer has few options beyond a "hands-on" approach to get an unruly person under control, Liberio said. And such physical methods usually leave a lasting impression on the disturbed person and his or her family.
"We always want to leave a positive impression on the individual and family, and this program will do that," Liberio said.
Though the Schaumburg Police Department already has a Domestic Violence Response Team, the training and skills of the new Crisis Intervention Team will be significantly different.
The initial goal is to have four officers per shift receive the training, to ensure at least a couple members of the team are always on duty. But it may be possible down the line for every patrol officer to be trained.
The 40-hour training program is delivered over five days and costs the department nothing more as it already is a member of North East Mult-Regional Training.
Several officers have already been through the program, and the department is expected to reach its initial goal of four trained officers per shift in about two weeks, Liberio said. Use of the team will help reduce the risk of injury to both citizens and officers, he added.