Vancouver, Clark County and Portland law enforcement all use the same training program to interact in crisis situations with those who are mentally ill or disturbed.
The Crisis Intervention Training is based on a model created by the Memphis, Tenn., police department and has been adopted nationwide.
The sessions, Clark County Sheriff's Sgt. Scott Schanaker said, show officers what a person suffering from a breakdown or other crisis may be thinking.
"It's been really good training," he said, adding that it's been helpful as deputies encounter more and more mentally ill suspects as state funding issues have cut the social safety net. "People who are historically institutionalized or in homes, or are medicated no longer are. We deal with them more frequently."
Since 2003, about 80 Vancouver police personnel have gone through a 40-hour CIT course, said Vancouver Sgt. Kathy McNicholas, who coordinates the training. The goal is to have all city patrol officers complete the course, she said.
Officers Richard Rich and Mike Gralton, who were involved in disarming a man with a .45-caliber Ruger and large knife Thursday without using a weapon, both completed the CIT course, Vancouver police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said.
Clark County deputies complete 2.5 days of CIT work, Schanaker said.
All Portland police are also required to finish 40 hours of Crisis Intervention Training, Portland police spokeswoman Mary Wheat said.
"Our officers are trained very well in dealing with the mentally ill," she said. "Unfortunately, sometimes things do happen that go beyond the training."
The last officer-involved death in Vancouver was in 2007, when police shot Sean Makarowsky after he appeared at the window of his Northeast Vancouver home holding a loaded .40-caliber handgun with the safety off.
In 2006, Douglas Damon was killed when he pointed a realistic-looking toy gun at Detective Greg Raquer. Raquer was responding to complaints about homeless people camping out behind the Mill Plain Boulevard Walmart.
-- Andrea Damewood