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Police put crisis intervention training to use during overnight pursuit

Cleveland police pursuit
Posted at 6:48 PM, Jan 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-23 19:14:57-05

CLEVELAND — Cleveland police put their crisis intervention training to use during a late-night pursuit where they believe a woman was dealing with a mental health crisis.

Police scanner audio obtained by News 5 through an online service indicates a woman approached a Cleveland Police Officer and said she was in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). There were two children in the car with her.

Police made contact with the woman in downtown Cleveland near W. 3rd Street and W. St. Clair.

Conversation over the scanner shows officers made the decision to follow the woman while she drove around downtown, but they did not turn on their lights or sirens.

“Police officers, their main job is to protect us,” said Scott Osiecki, the CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services of Cuyahoga County (ADAMHS).

His group helps officers through crisis intervention training.

"It teaches them to de-escalate a situation so as not to exasperate or make it worse,” he said.

The woman, who has not been identified by Cleveland Police, drove for nearly an hour. She took I-90 to Route 2 all the way to Painesville before she turned around and went west toward Cleveland.

At that point, Willoughby Police put down stop strips on the highway.

The woman pulled over on the Vine Street exit ramp where police put her and the children in patrol cars.

Video from News 5 shows police did not use handcuffs on the woman.

“There's no reason to put your hands on somebody. That's part of the de-escalation techniques,” said Osiecki.

He said moments like this show how the training can be beneficial.

"It is very exciting to hear that it is actually working - that officers are actually using that technique,” he said.

We reached out to Cleveland Police to learn more about the officer’s decisions.

A spokesperson for the department said they are still reviewing the situation and were unavailable for comment.