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Training for Butler County police focuses on communicating with public

About one week after a Butler County sheriff’s deputy fatally shot a man in St. Clair Twp., several officers received training in how to engage with the communities they work in.

Middletown police hosted the two-day training focusing on racial intelligence and engagement of officers.

About 20 officers from across the state, — including Fairfield, Oxford, the Butler County Sheriff’s Office and Middletown — began training to learn to make their engagement with the community more positive.

MORE: Butler County shooting shows some battles for veterans fought at home

“This is a great tool to train our officers in de-escalation of incidents. It benefits us and those we deal with on a daily basis,” said Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw. “This training isn’t just about race, it is about emotional intelligence and decision making.”

During the first-day, officers were asked to speak up about why they were attending the training, identify their key reasons for being an officer and what the want to do in the future.

Butler County Sheriff’s Deputy James Catron told the group about being at the scene of the officer-involved fatal shooting last week in St. Clair Twp.

“I am happy to be here,” the deputy said.

MORE: Mom before son fatally shot by deputy: ‘It is like he is at war’

Led by Linda Webb, with 30 plus years experience in law enforcement, and Randy Friedman, with a background in sports and mental motivation for athletes, the RITE Academy training combines emotional and social intelligence techniques unique to an officer’s communication needs. 

“The more officers we can help control their emotions, the less incidents across the country,” Webb said.

She noted departments spend thousands on officer equipment and training in the tools of the job but little about officer wellness.

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Webb said said when they make presentations to chiefs of police gathering throughout the country, “I tell them the need to invest more in officer wellness … help our police officers become better communicators.”

The RITE model was rolled out for officers: emotional intelligence + social intelligence = racial intelligence.

Webb, RITE Academy founder, said over the years she has taught a number of courses in cultural, but knew there was a need to change things that focus on the officer first.

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