Walker County Sheriff implements new ‘Fit for Duty’ assessment for deputies

Walker County Sheriff implements new ‘Fit for Duty’ assessment for deputies
(Source: WBRC)

WALKER CO., Ala. (WBRC) - Walker County Sheriff Nick Smith posted a new 6-point assessment on Facebook Thursday as part of what he says will be standard operating procedure for Sheriff’s Office employees.

The policy amendments, including training, will be instituted immediately. There are 6 amendments:

  • Situational Psychological Evaluations
  • Yearly De-Escalation Training
  • Yearly Mental Health Awareness Training
  • Yearly Use of Force Training
  • Yearly Below 100 Training
  • Yearly Sensitivity & Diversity Training

Here is the post:

My best asset is a well trained deputy, so in an effort to maintain a well-trained and qualified workforce, the Walker County Sheriff’s Office recently instituted a number of policy amendments in what I’m calling my “Fit for Duty” assessment. The following policy amendments have been made and will be instituted immediately as standard operating procedure (SOP) for all Sheriff’s Office employees with the training aspects applying to sworn personnel only.

1. Situational Psychological Evaluations: Any employee involved in a possibly traumatic situation (i.e. deputy involved shooting, excessive use of force, calls involving extreme violence/abuse of children, etc.) will be required to be subject to a psychological evaluation performed by a medical and mental health professional. The recommendations of those medical professionals will be taken into account moving forward with the employee’s work performance evaluation. Supervisors also will retain the right to send any employee at any time for an evaluation based on observations made regarding changes in behavior (i.e. chronic missed shifts, depressed attitudes, change in personality, increased aggression, etc.). The need for psychological evaluations will be made on a case by case by members of departmental administration.

2. Yearly De-Escalation Training: All deputies will be required to complete AT LEAST one training course with a focus on de-escalation tactics, equipping deputies with the knowledge and ability to exhaust all measures before resorting to force in situations where that approach is attainable.

3. Yearly Mental Health Awareness Training: All deputies will be required to completed AT LEAST one training course with a focus on identifying individuals with mental health issues when deputies encounter them in the field.

4. Yearly Use of Force Training: All deputies will be required to complete AT LEAST one course with a focus on the objectively reasonable use of force, the effects and mitigation of survival stress, and the principles of defensive tactics, teaching deputies how to approach use of force in a manner that mitigates the probability of injury to the suspect and deputy alike where that approach is attainable.

5. Yearly Below 100 Training: All deputies will be required to complete AT LEAST one Below 100 course with a focus on preventing line of duty deaths and serious injuries through compelling common-sense training designed to focus on areas under the officer’s control (i.e. eliminating dangerous driving, successfully navigating cumulative stress, coping with trauma, etc.).

6. Yearly Sensitivity & Diversity Training: All deputies will be required to complete AT LEAST one training course related to sensitivity and diversity in an effort to prepare officers to deal with individuals from all walks of life, cultures, and communities.

My best asset is a well trained deputy, so in an effort to maintain a well-trained and qualified workforce, the Walker...

Posted by Walker County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, August 6, 2020

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