Bipartisan ‘Law Enforcement De-escalation Training Act’ signed

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WLNE) — President Joe Biden signed a law Tuesday that makes de-escalation training for police the law of the land.

According to officials, the law will equip officers with the tools to safely and effectively respond to people in crisis.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said the “De-escalation Training Act” will require the Department of Justice to develop trainings on de-escalation tactics.

These trainings would include;

  • Alternatives to use of force.
  • Safely responding to mental, behavioral, and suicidal crises.
  • Successfully participating on a crisis intervention team.
  • Making referrals to community-based mental and behavioral health services.

Liz Gledhill, the Rhode Island Statewide Crisis Intervention Team coordinator stressed that 911 calls are commonly the first step towards treatment and recovery.

Gledhill further explains that with this legislation, law enforcement can play a critical role in making sure people living with mental illness have access to the treatment they need.

“As a result of this important work, thousands of Rhode Islanders who’ve encountered police during a crisis have avoided arrest,” Gledhill said.

Col. Michael J Winquist, Chief for the Cranston Police Department said there is a demand for mental health treatment, crisis mitigation and substance abuse recovery now more than ever.

Chief Winquist went on to thank Sen. Whitehouse for his work in leading the movement for increased law enforcement training.

In July, 2022, Whitehouse and Sen. Jack Reed announced $1.2 million in federal funding to support crisis intervention team training for police departments across Rhode Island.



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