KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Law enforcement officers from all over the U.S. went to the University of Tennessee to learn more about how to safely de-escalate tense situations.
The training was co-hosted by the University of Tennessee Police Department. It was meant to give officers skills, tools and options they can use to safely prevent situations from spiraling out of control. The training was called Integrating Communications, Assessment and Tactics.
The training is meant for situations involving people who are unarmed, or who have weapons other than guns, and who are experiencing a mental health crisis. It shows officers how to make decisions that can lead to the person finding help, instead of police shooting them.
The training provides scenario-based exercises for officers, along with lectures and case studies.
The police department is the first campus law enforcement agency in Tennessee to offer ICAT training. It was hosted in partnership with the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit that researches law enforcement policies and provides assistance to support agencies.
“It’s imperative that we give our officers the best chance of success when they’re dealing with people in crisis,” said UTPD Assistant Chief Sean Patterson in a release. “We want to give them as many tools and techniques as possible so a safe outcome can be achieved for all involved.”
Patterson was part of the team that created the training and taught it around the country. He said that as a result of that training, SWAT teams have had success in dealing with people in crisis.
“The reason why is because they slow things down, create distance, create a game plan and call in other resources to help,” he said.
According to a release, 45 officers were expected to participate in the training. They included agencies from Arkansas, California, Guam, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Tennessee. The training lasted for two days.