The U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday the award of nearly $450,000 to the Fresno Police Department and the Madera County Sheriff’s Office for community-oriented policing efforts.
“The Fresno Police Department recognizes not only the necessity but the usefulness of De-escalation training with our personnel as we continue to strengthen our relationships and trust with the community we serve.” — Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama
Fresno PD will get $200,000 to train officers in de-escalation techniques and maintain those skills. The training teaches officers how to avoid ramping up confrontations.
The grant “will go to the creation and expansion of standalone De-Escalation classes which will include the use of virtual reality (VR) scenario-based training,” said Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama. “The overall goal is to increase our personnel’s knowledge base through three different avenues: policy, education, and training.
“The Fresno Police Department recognizes not only the necessity but the usefulness of De-escalation training with our personnel as we continue to strengthen our relationships and trust with the community we serve.”
A year ago, the state Legislature passed a law that requires de-escalation training for police.
That law came after San Francisco police implemented training that yielded a 24% decrease in the use of force in 2019 from 2018. According to a study involving the Louisville Metro Police Department, de-escalation techniques can significantly reduce use-of-force situations, as well as injuries to residents and officers.
Crisis Intervention Teams in Madera
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office will receive $249,903 for crisis intervention teams that embed mental and behavioral health services with deputies.
The DOJ awarded about $33 million in grants for law-enforcement agencies across the nation on Wednesday. The announcement of the grants coincides with National Community Policing Week.
“Keeping communities safe requires building relationships and increasing trust between law enforcement and those they serve,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland in a news release. “The wide range of programs these funds will support – from de-escalation training and anti-bias efforts to technical assistance and accreditation programs – are critical to achieving our public safety goals.”
A complete list of the grants is at this link.