by Dave Waddell
In a year of three deadly officer-involved shootings within five months in Butte County, overall attendance is down markedly among law enforcement personnel in Butte College’s annual Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) academy.
However, the Chico Police Department, involved in two of those fatal shootings, is sending three officers to the CIT academy, after having almost no presence there in recent years.
The academy, which begins Monday at the Chico Fire Training Center, provides instruction in de-escalation techniques and in dealing with the mentally ill. For its first seven years, the 40-hour training was conducted by Andy Duch, a recently retired Butte County sheriff’s captain. Duch quit the CIT post in protest shortly after Chico police shot and killed Desmond Phillips, a 25-year-old mentally ill black man, in his West Fourth Avenue living room on March 17.