SACRAMENTO — Black Lives Matter Sacramento claims that the city’s police department is not doing what it’s supposed to with city dollars given to it to fund crisis intervention training.
The goal of that training was to help the department avoid situations like the killing of Joseph Mann in 2016.
He was a mentally ill man shot 14 times by officers while he was running away from them in the Del Paso area.
BLM and its supporters claim that only half of all officers have been through the crisis training and that the department is pocketing some of the $750,000 it was awarded to complete it.
And that’s not all.
They don’t feel the California Peace Officers Association should be facilitating the 40 hours worth of classes.
“There is a conflict of interest in an association of police that includes Sac PD officers on the board being the chosen facilitators of a training that was demanded because of Sac PD’s inability to handle folks having a mental health crisis. As a result the length of hours was shortened. The length of time visiting a mental health facility was eliminated,”
Police Chief Hahn says 577 of the department’s 650 officers have been through the training and the force is on track to complete it — five months ahead of their earliest estimated date.
As far as the money:
“When we went to council we thought we would have to do it on overtime so we wouldn’t diminish the staffing on the street. We’ve actually accomplished that with almost no overtime, on regular time, and so we’ve only really spent about $106,000 to this point. There’ll be a little bit more spent on the last three remaining classes, we’ll have $400,000 or $500,000 left over,” Hahn said.
When asked what will happen with that money?
“Yet to be determined, right now just sitting there, it will have to go back to council or have to be used for mental health training,” he said.
The chief says the California Peace Officers Association is only certifying the training being done, not conducting it.
That is being done by the trained doctors and therapists.
Another group, Disability Response, is also a partner in the training.
After hearing many members of the public call for better oversight of the training, Mayor Darrell Steinberg said valid concerns were raised and that a full review of the success of the training would be appropriate.
Inside Source Says Sac Police Officers Skimping on Mandated Crisis Intervention Training
Is Sacramento’s police department doing the right thing with crisis intervention funds paid out to it this year by the city?
One of the many voices raised in harsh critique of the department Tuesday at city council belongs to Christine Feenstra.
She used to work for the California Peace Officers Association.
With members of the department ordered to upgrade their skill with these classes, in charge of organizing them, Feenstra says corners are being cut.
“For day four of the class the instructor was not available, so I was told by CPOA leadership to facilitate the full day of training. I am not a mental health clinician and I am not an instructor. I did so by showing the attendees a series of videos that the officers did not pay attention to,” she said.
She also says with breaks, lunches and other ways the class day is being altered, officers who have supposedly completed the training facilitated by CPOA are not actually receiving the 40 hours of training required.
Hahn says no complaints of shortened class hours have ever been reported to his department.