SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – The Savannah Police Department (SPD) is stepping away from force and moving toward a new form of crisis management.
SPD is rolling out a sensory-based training for crisis situations not involving a weapon called ICAT – standing for “Integrating, communications assessment, and tactics.”
“In the past, we are taught in a lot of training sessions to push forward, resolve the incident quickly, come up with a quick solution, which a lot of times, that’s where you come into the use of force,” says SPD Capt. Tonya Reid, “so this training will slow things down, have officers, think critically, really assess the situation, take their time solving it, and it should overall reduce the incidences of use of force”
The training, which will happen in a classroom setting, begins next week, with command officers being the first to receive it, Capt. Reid being one of them.
It teaches officers how to assess and respond to situations without using force, but their senses.
“We’re doing a lot of hands-on training, and we’re utilizing stimulating all five senses to come up with a viable solution, and that type of training is being increased, and this is part of it,” says Reid.
Savannahians are already feeling comforted knowing they will not immediately be met with force by police.
“I think, with me, if I was to be pulled over, and I didn’t feel that fear, and they communicated with me one on one, I think it would be better,” says Savannah resident Kevin B.
He says the training will not only make Savannah better but make him feel safer.
“I think I would feel better, safer, if they knew how to communicate with me versus using a certain level of force,” he adds.
The consensus was clear – communication is the best route.
Others need to see it to believe it, like Kimberly S. who is a frequent visitor of Savannah, visiting from West Palm Beach, Fla.
“I know people, even myself would be apprehensive to feel they’re actually gonna be nice and understanding, versus just coming at you with brute force,” says Kimberly, “but if they start showing you that they’re doing it and implementing it, I think it would be better for everybody.”
Savannah police saying they hear the feedback, and think the training is needed now more than ever, especially after the beating of death of Tyre Nichols at the hands of police.
“Any situation that is rushed, and officers emotions are high, and they feel they need to rush in- this training again is teaching officers to slow down, take a step back, even if that’s physically walking away and taking a step back, meeting up, and deciding what will be the best approach to resolve the issue,” Capt. Reid tells News 3.