Spokane police partner with Frontier Behavioral Health to train in de-escalation techniques | news

SPOKANE, Wash. – Maybe you played cops and robbers growing up, where police try to catch the bad guy. In the real world, while that is part of their job, the majority of time, police are put in situations where handcuffs aren’t the solution. That’s where the partnership with Frontier Behavioral Health and its training come in.

“We were blessed in about 2018-2017 to kind of get a partnership with frontier behavioral health and Jan Tokumoto and she brought Casey Jackson on too with the police department to train our people in some de-escalation and some interviewing techniques that we hadn’ It’s seen before,” said Steve Wohl, Spokane Police Lt.

It’s called motivational interviewing, but really, Wohl said, its communication, a way to connect with those in need. Which is where Casey Jackson, who has worked in behavioral health for 30 years comes in.

“I travel around the country, actually around the world and train on a very specific method,” Jackson said. “An evidence-based communication method that helps people change behavior.”

A tool that the Spokane Police Department in partnership with Frontier Behavioral Health has invested heavily in.

“A lot of times when I use it it’s with people who are hurting themselves and stuff like that, and the tools Casey has given me specifically has allowed me to be successful in talking people into you know seeking help rather than the other side of the coin,” said Joe Dunsmoor, SPD officer.

Jackson uses body camera footage to teach police officers, like officer Dunsmoor, how to communicate with people in crisis. Many times that communication happens in high-stress environments.

Like a football coach going over film with their team, this training helps SPD learn and grow.

And Jan Tokumoto, chief operating officer at Frontier Behavioral Health, said the impact of Jackson’s training here in Spokane has been profound.

“I am always grateful for the relationship and the partnership that we have with law enforcement it is unheard of in other locations,” Tokumoto said.

For officers on the streets this training is something they use every day, a tool that has almost certainly saved lives.

“This style that Casey’s taught us is just, I think it’s far superior than anything I’ve ever been taught in the past, and like I said, I use it as much as I can,” Officer Dunsmoor said. “And sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but at least if we give it a shot then, you know, more often than not, we are going to be successful.”

The Spokane Police Department isn’t the only local law enforcement agency utilizing this Jackson, the Spokane County Sheriff’s office also enlists his help.