The Cedar Park Police Department is the first in the Central Texas region to adopt the Police Executive Research Forum’s Integrating Communications, Assessment and Tactics (ICAT) Program. This training reinforces the existing Cedar Park Police Department practice of marrying crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques with communication skills and tactics to ensure the best possible outcome for individuals who are emotionally charged or acting erratically because of mental illness, physical or mental impairment or substance abuse and who are not posing an immediate threat to public safety.
The ICAT Program, which will be completed by every sworn member of the Department by the end of May, is a six-module curriculum built around a Critical Decision Making Model. The model is a reflection of the Cedar Park Police Department’s core values, first and foremost being the preservation of life. These modules include instruction about recognizing individuals in crisis, effective communication techniques to employ while interacting with them, operational safety tactics that contribute to the success and safety of the communication and real time scenario-based applications of these skills.
The ICAT program complements standing CPPD efforts to create a sworn workforce that is emotionally, physically and financially sound, that has a thriving peer support program and that builds on future plans to provide access to on-site scenario-based training and mental health certification for every Cedar Park patrol officer by year’s end.
“There are a variety of unreasonable expectations of law enforcement in America today such as the idea that we can resolve all situations with no application of force, particularly deadly force,” Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix said. “It is, however, an entirely fair belief by both the community and our officers that officers be as well trained as humanly possible to minimize the need for force, particularly when interacting with citizens who are experiencing mental or physical crisis and who present no immediate threat. It can be difficult, if not impossible, for a person in crisis to comply with routine requests by law enforcement.“
The full ICAT Training Guide and additional program information is available for review at: http://www.policeforum.org/trainingguide
“The ICAT program is a formal acknowledgement of the tools that we use every day to slow down a situation in order to gather information and to access the resources needed to achieve the best possible outcome for everyone involved,” Mannix said. “Our ultimate goal is to resolve a situation with the minimum force needed so that individuals in crisis can move on to getting the help they need.”