This is a press release from Bloomfield Township. Press releases are official statements that have not been independently verified.

The Bloomfield Police Department recently conducted mental health and de-escalation training for 50 police officers. The training was provided by Cavanaugh & Keenan LLC and focused on 5 main topics:

1. Overview of Mental Illness

2. De-Escalation and Active listening

3. Use of Force Guidelines

4. Culture, LGBTQ and Biases

5. Deal with Anger/Empathy

Responding to mental illness and de-escalating encounters with citizens has become a daily occurrence in police work. De-escalation is a method of using verbal and nonverbal actions to reduce a person’s agitation, by communicating, understanding and acknowledging the issue that is causing their aggravated state.

“Our officers put their lives on the line every day to protect our community, especially so during the COVID-19 health crisis and for that we are eternally grateful,” said Mayor Venezia. “In order to ensure that encounters between the public are overwhelmingly positive, our officers take part in training which gives them the skills to deal with a variety of situations. Director DeMaio and the entire Bloomfield Police Department are leading the way in always being ahead of the curve on public safety.”

Officers face scrutiny and potential liability with each encounter. To some people, having the ability to de-escalate comes naturally while for others, teaching the information to respond in a thoughtful manner, is a tool that they may need to avoid intensifying a situation.

Mental illness and de-escalation is a complex and ever changing field. The course the officers attended, will make officers think about information that would assist them in an interaction to achieve the best possible outcome.

On August 10-11, 2021, three officers including the commander of the BPD training bureau, will attend a practical de-escalation tactics and critical decision-making instructor course provided by Homefront Protective Group. This course will enable the Police Department to conduct in-service training for officers on an annual basis.

This course will equip each officer with the appropriate and effective skills to maintain public and officer safety. It will focus on how to integrate the effective communication for reducing conflict into the agency’s current policies and procedures for immediate implementation.

“I cannot stress enough how important it is to equip our officers with the absolute best possible training so that they are prepared for any situation they may encounter,” said Public Safety Director Samuel DeMaio. “The goal is always to ensure the safety of our officers as well as the safety of the public. As policing continues to change, the Bloomfield Police Department will continue to be at the forefront of the best training and technology available to us.”

Having members of the department trained as trainers in these areas will enable the BPD to make this not a one-time event, but an ongoing part of its annual curriculum for in service training. This will keep officers at the cutting edge of the best training possible which is always evolving.