Police to Undergo Transient Sensitivity Training

The Fullerton Police Department has begun the process of providing officers with homeless and mentally ill crisis intervention training.
Such training is one of the first suggestions made by Ron Thomas, father of Kelly Thomas, after the fatal consequences of the police’s handling of a questioning session with Kelly, who was homeless and mentally ill. New Mayor Sharon Quirk-Silva and others also made this recommendation early on.
The hopes are that such training will prevent another such incident which has wracked Fullerton with bad national and international press, and divided the town.
Acting Police Chief Hamilton and City Manager Joe Felz have pushed for an aggressive training schedule that will eventually involve all city police. There are some speed bumps in the process, though, because Orange Coast College’s program is not equipped to handle such a large number of police officers at once. So the department will be combining online training and an on-site trainer with the program to augment the process.
Homeless and mentally ill training will help, but many people have asked if this will address the real problem. Do police need special training to avoid beating a homeless, mentally ill man to death during an apprehension? Other charges are being filed against other officers for crimes of sexual assault. Is this a problem of lack of training? Or is there a problem with the command structure? Some have suggested that California labor laws limiting disciplinary actions have tied managers’ hands.

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