Created: 05/02/2014 10:28 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4
On Friday, the Albuquerque Police Department finished training its first wave of officers on crisis intervention. 35 officers spent a week in classrooms and role-play scenarios. They learned how to talk down citizens in distress, so dangerous incidents don’t have to turn deadly.
“My son was suffering from PTSD and if we had someone in there to negotiate and talk him down, he'd still be alive today,” Kenneth Ellis II said.
Kenneth Ellis III was shot and killed in 2010. A year later, his family pushed for a bill to mandate mental health training for all New Mexico law enforcement officers.
It passed, and now academies must include that training before officers hit the streets. But Ellis says every time a mentally ill person is killed by police, it’s a reminder something still isn’t working.
“I know officers that are trained in de-escalation and crisis intervention and they're trained to, time is on their side. The longer it goes the more likely it'll end peacefully. Crisis intervention can work, if it's utilized. That's the problem we have, they're not using their training,” Ellis said.
APD plans to train all officers in the next 18 months. The Department of Justice says training more officers will likely result in fewer use of force incidents.