Loudoun County, VA (August 17, 2020) – The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office is the first law enforcement agency in Virginia to hold a three-day Advanced Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for School Resource Officers. The advanced training focuses on residents with Intellectual and developmental disabilities, especially children.
The LCSO CIT program has been recognized both regionally and nationally and has trained over 700 personnel from the local, state, and federal levels- as well as international participants. CIT is designed to protect the safety, dignity, and rights of persons suffering mental health issues. CIT deputies have specialized training in recognizing signs and symptoms of persons experiencing a behavioral crisis while maintaining officer and public safety.
“The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office continues to be a leader in crisis intervention, and we want to ensure that all of our residents are treated with compassion and respect,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Chapman.
Sheriff Chapman helped facilitate crisis intervention training in Loudoun County in October 2012 after assessing the frequency of incidents involving mental illness in Loudoun County. The program was expanded to include the Adult Detention Center in January 2015.
A total of 25 SRO’s and three supervisors have graduated from the advanced training with 100% of all SRO’s and Juvenile Resource Officers (D.A.R.E.) expected to receive the training by November 2020.
The LCSO was the first-ever agency in the Commonwealth of Virginia to hold the three-day advanced training back in 2019. The training was developed by the LCSO in coordination with Loudoun County Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Developmental Services, and the Virginia CIT Coalition. The advanced training includes in-class instruction from Virginia CIT Coalition Trainer, Chief Dennis Lambert, of the Town of Dublin, VA Police Department, and Virginia CIT Coalition Trainer, Sgt. Danny Ratcliffe, of the Town of Pearisburg Police Department, VA.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer Unit was named one of the best School Resource Officers Units in the United States after receiving the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO) Model Agency of the Year Award in 2018.
The LCSO has also been recognized nationally for another of the agency’s school-based programs. In 2017, Sheriff Chapman was named the DEA/Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) Law Enforcement Executive of the Year. The award is presented to a senior law enforcement officer who epitomizes an extraordinary commitment to drug prevention and enforcement.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s has had a presence in Loudoun County schools for over three decades when the D.A.R.E program was implemented in fifth grade classrooms in 1987.
In 1996, the LCSO began its School Resource Officer (SRO) program on the heels of extraordinary growth in the county. This growth in population in the county brought with it new schools and a need for the expansion of the SRO program. The LCSO initially began the SRO program with one deputy serving three high schools throughout the county. Today, there are 16 high schools, 14 middle schools served by the LCSO, with each served by an SRO.