Crisis Intervention and the School Resource Officer


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Presented by: Officer Scott A. Davis- Montgomery County (MD) Police

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Crisis Intervention and the School Resource Officer

  2. 2. MY BACKUP TEAM<br />Rebecca Toner- Family Crimes Div MCPD<br />Mary Brough- Montgomery County Crisis Center<br />Steve Miller- Montgomery County Crisis Center<br />
  3. 3. SNAPSHOTS IN HISTORY: COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL<br />April 20th 1999<br />Two students shot up the high school.<br />CIT issue?<br />Warning signs?<br />Bullying issue?<br />Ready access to firearms.<br />
  4. 4. Lewis and Clark HS (Washington) Sept.2003<br />16 yr old Sean Fitzpatrick.<br />Pulled out a 9mm handgun during science class.<br />Demanded students and teachers leave the room.<br />Swat team shot Fitzpatrick when confronted.<br />He survived his wounds.<br />
  5. 5. MECKLENBURG HS (HUNTERSVILLE, NC) April 19,2007<br />16 yr old Josh Cook.<br />Made threatening gestures to students at the high school (with a gun).<br />Ran out of the school prior to police arrival, police began to search the area.<br />Was confronted by police at a gas station, shot himself in the head.<br />
  6. 6. MENTAL ILLNESS/DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED STUDENTS<br />Autism affects about 1 in 110 children (NAMI).<br />Depression affects about 8.5% of youth in schools. These youth had, within the last year experienced at least one depressive episode (SAMHSA).<br />ADHD affects about 2-3% of students in schools (1 per class) NIMH.<br />
  7. 7. MORE FACTS<br />Schizophrenia affects 1.1% of people over the age of 18. Not many stats for under 18 (NAMI).<br />Bipolar disorder. 2.6% for persons over the age of 18 (NAMI). James Hudsiak, professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont says: “ The best prediction is that the classic manifestation of Pediatric Bipolar disorder is probably less than 1%. “. <br />
  8. 8. BIPOLAR DISORDER<br />“ However, the more common presentation of rapid mood swings, aggression, inattention and unhappiness may occur as often as 4%”.<br />There are no good statistics of mental illness in schools however, we know it’s present.<br />
  9. 9. COPS IN SCHOOLS; Stats from the National School Resource Officers convention 2009<br />75% of SRO’s reported taking a weapon away from a student on school property.<br />92% of SRO’s felt that their schools were soft targets for terrorists.<br />50% of officers reported their schools emergency plans were inadequate.<br />92% of officers reported that the crimes on their campuses are under-reported.<br />
  10. 10. COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH ACT OF 1963<br />Released consumers back into the community.<br />Treatment is no longer public but is now private.<br />Treatment is community based with little or no supervision or caretakers to “case manage”.<br />
  11. 11. INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1975 AND AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990<br />Equal access and least restrictive environments in schools for students with mental illness.<br />Schools have had to adjust their school operations.<br />Police have had to adjust their operations as well.<br />
  12. 12. SRO’s are the first line of defense. Crisis Intervention plays a major role in prevention/deterrence of school violence!<br />
  13. 13. MONTGOMERY COUNTY POLICE IN SCHOOLS<br />Most are CIT certified (40 hour course).<br />Taser certified (8-10 hour course).<br />SRO’s get an additional 6-8 hours training on defensive tactics, de-escalation skills.<br />
  14. 14. SCHOOL/POLICE ISSUES<br />Both have a unique sub-culture (conservative vs. liberal?).<br />Exchanging of information can be difficult.<br />SRO’s with CIT training have an excellent rapport with kids and can generally see emerging crisis issues. Most of the time before the kids parents see it in their own children.<br />Schools are becoming the de-facto “social work” zones.<br />
  15. 15. CASE STUDY: MCP IN ACTION<br />School secretary receives a call from a “self acclaimed” crisis worker in California who chats with clients on social networking sites.<br />School secretary contacts SRO at around 1900 hours same day.<br />Secretary advises she received information from the reporting person that a student is fed up with being bullying.<br />
  16. 16. Student advised he is going to take matters into his own hands and show everyone up!<br />Student provides a list of common household chemicals that he will make into a bomb(s).<br />SRO notifies the school principle as well as MCPS security staff.<br />Everyone collectively agrees that based on the above information there is no immediate threat to be addressed that night.<br />
  17. 17. MCP IN ACTION<br />Decision is made to interdict the student first thing next day.<br />Student is located and escorted to SRO office.<br />Student is resistant to interview and hesitant to talk.<br />Student is advised Officer is concerned about his welfare and he’s not in trouble.<br />
  18. 18. Student starts to come forward with info.<br />States he has been “seeing things” such as spiders on his arms, waterfalls in the office and he hears his father talking to him while in class.<br />Student is reluctant to disclose what he feels/hears and sees to his parents thinking no one will believe him.<br />Consent to search his locker is obtained and yields nothing.<br />
  19. 19. Fire marshal is contacted and advised of the students list of house hold chemicals.<br />Fire marshal goes ape and holds the threat credible .<br />Unmarked cars are parked to observe the students house.<br />Officer takes the student to the Montgomery County Crisis Center and is triaged.<br />Student is evaluated and diagnosed with Schizophrenia<br />
  20. 20. Parents are contacted and respond to the Crisis Center and are briefed.<br />Parents give consent for Fire Marshall to conduct search of their house. Nothing found.<br />Student and parents are furnished a treatment program and referred to private providers.<br />
  21. 21. POST INTERVIEW: LESSONS LEARNED<br />Student had the potential to create a mass casualty incident.<br />School/Police relationship was excellent.<br />Outside agencies were brought in, “total team approach”.<br />For the rest of the school year the student checked in with the SRO (on his own).<br />No media involvement (good or bad?)<br />
  22. 22. THINKING “OUTSIDE THE BOX”<br />Work with School Psychologist, try to get into the interview!<br />If a gesture or statement is made, Duty to act!<br />Often School Psychologist has to refer student.<br />Puts the “option” of treatment with the parents.<br />Total team approach; SRO is staff!<br />
  23. 23. “OUTSIDE THE BOX”<br />Hippa issues?<br />Threat assessment teams.<br />Student peer teams ?<br />In school crime watch program, confidential e-mail tip system.<br />PTA “buy in”.<br />Communication is the key; Talk! Talk! Talk!<br />
  24. 24. END OF THE YEAR RESULTS<br />Watkins Mill High School had a 33% reduction in crime (MCPS stats) even though there was an increase in crime reporting and report writing.<br />Watkins Mill High School had the highest intake of mental heath services in the county school system.<br />Police can’t do it alone. TOTAL TEAM APPROACH!!<br />
  25. 25. QUESTIONS?<br />Contact information<br /><br />240-773-5057 office<br />