Crisis Intervention Team
The multi-agency Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) was developed in collaboration with the Department of Community and Human Services, the Alexandria Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office to help improve staff interactions and outcomes with persons with mental illness and substance use disorders. During their 40 hours of training, CIT deputies and civilians learn skills such as suicide intervention, verbal de-escalation techniques, the role of the family in the care of a person with mental illness. In addition to classroom instruction, CIT members participate in role playing exercises based on real-life scenarios and spend a day visiting mental health and substance abuse inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities where they have the opportunity to engage in one-on-one dialogue with mental health consumers. Since the program began in 2010, more than 80 deputies have completed CIT training and are able to use their specialized skills in the Detention Center, at the Alexandria Courthouse and out in the community.
Crisis Negotiation Team
The Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) responds to emergency situations, such as a cell extraction or other crises in areas under the purview of the Sheriff’s Office. Deputies trained in negotiation techniques use their skills to engage the subject in crisis and to work with other team members to bring about a peaceful resolution. A sergeant, several deputies and mental health staff comprise the CNT.
The Honor Guard performs ceremonial duties at Sheriff’s Office events like promotional celebrations, City events like parades, memorial occasions during Correctional Officers Week, Police Week and September 11 remembrances, and at funerals of law enforcement officers. The Honor Guard also participates in precision drill competitions and won top honors at at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments competition in 2013, 2015 (below left) and 2019. At joint public safety events in Alexandria, such as the annual Chamber of Commerce Valor Awards, members of the Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard participate in a combined Honor Guard with members of the Alexandria Police Department and Alexandria Fire Department.
Project Lifesaver assists in providing a timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children who wander due to Alzheimer’s, autism, Down syndrome, and other conditions or disorders. Deputies may become Project Lifesaver team members after receiving training on the tracking equipment (below right) and on the maintenance of the devices clients use. Project Lifesaver deputies regularly visit clients at their homes to be certain the devices are working properly and to change batteries. Team members work on different shifts to ensure that when a client needs assistance, a certified deputy will be on duty and able to respond.
The Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SERT) was developed to provide a safe and quick response to combative inmates who pose a serious threat to deputies, other inmates or themselves. SERT members receive specialized training and equipment to remove and restrain inmates in a manner that minimizes risk and injury to the inmate and to the deputies.
The Training Unit relies on experienced and certified instructors to ensure that all employees, sworn and civilian, receive appropriate instruction to meet the requirements of accrediting bodies as well as the Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Department of Corrections. Deputies may become certified instructors in firearms, defensive tactics, emergency vehicle operations and other areas. These instructors aid the Training Unit in conducting New Employee Training, firearms qualifications, cultural diversity training and other subjects when necessary.