CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — Police officers sometimes have just seconds to make a decision that could affect their safety and the public’s safety. Now, the Cedar Park Police Department is requiring all officers to undergo training that will help with de-escalation during a crisis call.
Cedar Park police is the first department in Central Texas to use the Police Executive Research Forum’s Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT) Program. It’s geared toward handling people who are suffering from mental health problems or substance abuse.
“The most important tools they hit the street with are the 3 M’s. It’s their mind, their mouth and their morality,” explains Chief Sean Mannix. “Trying to bring tense situations down to a lower level where the goal is to talk you into handcuffs.”
They’re techniques Chief Mannix had to do while patrolling for six years with Austin Police and ten years in Alameda, California. “I could think of dozens of incidents where I’ve dealt with people in crisis, where people are amped up,” said Chief Mannix.
Mannix says the new training will better prepare officers when called to an unstable situation. “They have to be able to multi-task and think about different outcomes based on actions, and should always think about the safest outcome to a resolution.”
All Cedar Park police officers will be trained in the ICAT program over the next two months. By the end of the year, all patrol officers will be certified mental health officers.