Good Evening - My name is Christine Feenstra and I am resident of the city of Sacramento and up until June of this year, I served as Training Manager for the California Peace Officers Association. I am here to respectfully request that you as the City Council and Chief Hahn review the CIT courses that half of the Sac PD participated in via CPOA.
In January 2017, I attended a board of directors meeting wherein I was told “off the record” by then Sacramento Police Captain Marc Coopwood (who was the incoming President of CPOA) that a huge amount of funding was available. Captain Coopwood told his colleagues at Sac PD that “CPOA had a CIT class” and that they should use CPOA for this training. CPOA did not have a 40-hour class. I was directed to create the 40-hour class with great expediency. To do so I worked with a consultant, Carol Mckinnely Alvarez.
We were told to create the class based on the Memphis model but to receive funding the class had to be ready within two months. It was not possible to integrate all the required components of the Memphis model, yet the classes went on, starting in April. As you know, a key component of the Memphis model is on-site visitation and exposure to several mental health facilities, intensive interaction with individuals with mental illness and scenario based de-escalation skill training. I was told by Captain Mark Greenlee that he did not wish to have his officers travel off site to a mental health institution because they would never return to the classroom.
This training requires 40 hours of participation. The CPOA classes were held from 7 AM – 4PM, Monday – Thursday with a one hour lunch break leaving the attendees 10 hours short of the required 40 hours. In addition students were given at least a ten minute break each hour. Captain Greenlee encouraged me to end the courses early so as not to incur overtime. For Day 4 of the class, the instructor had an ongoing conflict so I was asked by CPOA leadership to facilitate the full day of training. I am not a Mental health clinician, I am not an instructor. I did so by showing a series of videos that the officers did not pay attention to.
Mayor Steinberg, you stated that funding these courses was “one of the most important steps we can take to improving the relationship between our Police Department and our community – I could not agree more and I was very excited to be part of facilitating this much-needed training for law enforcement officers in the e city I both love and live in.
While it may be true that Sac PD “completed” these trainings, I urge you and Chief Hahn to review the curriculum that was provided by CPOA. We need better if we are ever to improve Police Community Relations in Sacramento.
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