Multi-jurisdiction effort geared toward handling variety of incidents

Courtesy photoMany situations law enforcement officers respond to involve people who are experiencing a crisis in their lives, and these incidents require the assistance of trained professionals. To effectively address these situations, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Negotiation Unit (CNU) regularly trains to assist people in their time of need.

The CNU is comprised of Washington County Sheriff’s Office deputies, the FBI, and officers from the Hillsboro, Beaverton and Tigard police departments.

To learn in a high-pressure setting, on July 9, the CNU hosted a multi-agency crisis training event at Hillsboro High School. Participating in the training were Washington County CNU, Portland Police Bureau, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office, Oregon City Police Department, Western States Hostage Negotiator’s Association, Hillsboro Fire Department, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue and Washington County Mental Health officials.

These scenario-based trainings provide the opportunity for the various agencies to train side by side and learn from each other to enhance their responses individually and as a group. The training focuses on making the situation safe for all people involved, then concentrating on active communication with the person in mental crisis or in emotional distress.

There were about 80 participants involved, including volunteer role players to help add the real-life aspect for the negotiators. The crisis scenarios ranged from active threat situations to suicidal situations, and the Hillsboro Fire Department and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue even used ladder trucks to transport negotiators to the rooftop to “negotiate” with role players in diverse hazardous situations.

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