Sheriff’s Office Expands Crisis Intervention Training for School Officers

The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to better prepare its personnel to deal with individuals experiencing mental health problems, now putting its school resource officers through the Advanced Crisis Intervention Training program. 

The advanced course focuses on residents, especially children, with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Sheriff’s Office launched the crisis intervention training program in 2012 to help deputies recognize signs and symptoms of those experiencing a behavioral crisis while maintaining officer and public safety. More than 700 local, state, and federal officers have gone through the program over the years. 

The three-day, advanced training program began last year and was developed by the Sherriff’s Office in coordination with Loudoun County Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services and the Virginia CIT Coalition. Twenty school resource officers and three supervisors have graduated from the advanced training so far. The agency plans to have all school resource and Drug Abuse Resistance Education officers trained by November. 

The training comes as school division leaders—locally and nationally—are debating the merits of having sworn law enforcement officers assigned to schools amid concerns that minority students are disproportionally disciplined, often with the involvement of courts rather than just administrators. 

Sheriff Mike Chapman is a strong supporter of the SRO program and holds up his agency’s as one of the nation’s best. The unit received the National Association of School Resource Officers Model Agency of the Year Award in 2018. In 2017, the sheriff was named the DEA/D.A.R.E. Law Enforcement Executive of the Year. 

Loudoun began its D.A.R.E. program for fifth graders in 1987 and launched its SRO program with a single deputy in 1996. 

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