MIDDLETOWN — Police officers from across Miami Valley took part in the "Racial Intelligence Training & Engagement" (RITE) course to promote change within their departments.
Middletown's chief of police, David Birk, said the Middletown department has hosted the RITE academy in the past, but says he felt opening the up the 2-day course for other agencies was important, as they focus on fixing problems and rebuilding community relations within all departments.
"A lot of people don't believe officers are real people. We don't have emotions, but the stuff we see on a daily basis-from disturbances, to individuals hurt on accidents, to shootings really takes a toll on an officer." Birk reiterated.
Along with personal issues, co-founder of RITE training, Linda Webb, says officers need to be taught to recognize --- if and when their job is affecting them. One helpful tool given to officers was ‘the emotions ladder’.
"We give them this tool and we tell them take it in your patrol car. Use this in between police calls. Get your emotions in check." said Webb. "When you roll out of your police car ask yourself where am I at emotionally. Get my emotions in check. Then I engage with the public."
By using what is called the E.I-S.I-R.I approach (Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence, Racial Intelligence), Webb says all officers are taught a deeper sense of accountability - and to intervene if they see a fellow officer react to a scene irrationally, or go into what is called block-out mode.
"My police partner next to me may see me going into block-out. So what we teach in this class is duty to intervene. The RITE response and that is to STEP IN, TAP OUT and TAKE ACTION." said Webb.
"With programs like the right training, we need to continue to develop those because we can't do this alone. It's a community event. We need the pastors, we need the reverends, we need the community, we need support from administration top down....And they have it here and they understand it and i think the community understands it." Birk said.
Along with other training courses in place, Birk told NewsCenter7′s Ronnell Hunt he plans on making the RITE Academy course an annual requirement for all officers of Middletown Police Department.