Loudoun Co. Sheriff’s Office hits crisis training milestone

WASHINGTON — Four years after the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office launched its crisis intervention training, more than half of the agency’s sworn officers and almost all of the county’s dispatchers and 911 call-takers have gone through the program.

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has been a leader in CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) training in the D.C. area. And Sheriff Mike Chapman said his office is closer to reaching his goal of training 100 percent of his officers.

“The milestone is now that we’ve hit more than 60 percent of our deputies have been trained and that includes our deputies not only in the field, on the road but also in courts and corrections,” he said.

During the next two years, Chapman hopes to have all of his deputies trained in CIT.

The training is intended to improve the outcomes of police interactions with people suffering from mental illness and with people who are mentally disabled. It also decreases the use of force by law enforcement.

The sheriff said 95 percent of emergency dispatchers and call-takers have all been trained in CIT so they can better communicate with someone who is having a crisis.

Chapman said the CIT training program has been around for about 25 years. But his office started the training four years ago.

The sheriff said one of the office’s deputies was named the Crisis Intervention Training Deputy of the Year through the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“It shows that not only are we teaching this, but we are employing it,” Chapman said.

He said the training has paid off.

“We’ve actually seen many instances where we’ve had great resolutions to potentially violent situations,” he said.

The training has also helped diffuse situations where the department might have considered calling in its tactical team in the past, Chapman said.

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