College Hosts Week-Long EDPRT Training for Local Law Enforcement and First Responders

November 24, 2020

In partnership with the Troy Police Department and several community service organizations, Hudson Valley Community College will host a week-long Emotionally Distressed Persons Response Team (EDPRT)  training for local law enforcement and first responders beginning Monday, Dec. 7 and ending Friday, Dec. 11. The training will be delivered virtually.

The Troy Police Department’s Emotionally Distressed Persons Response Team (EDPRT) is a group of experienced officers, who volunteer for special training to deal with emotionally distressed individuals – suicidal persons, someone exhibiting irrational behavior, homeless men and women – in a variety of situations and psychiatric crises. A team member’s mission is to effectively deal with someone in emotional or mental distress, while preserving that person’s dignity, as well as ensuring their safety and the safety of the community and other team members. The team’s work requires its members to maintain channels of cooperation, coordination, and communication with the agencies and organizations in the community that provide mental health services.

“The EDPRT’s success is contingent on its partnerships with these mental health service providers to build a community of understanding, compassion, hope, and recovery for emotionally distressed persons,” according to Katherine Maciol, president/chief executive officer of CEO in Troy and former commissioner of Rensselaer County’s Mental Health Department. She and Troy Police Chief Brian Owens are spokespeople for the training event.

“Since its inception nearly 20 years ago, the Troy Police Department’s EDPRT has encountered thousands of emotionally distressed individuals. Because these specially-trained officers are less likely to inflict or incur injuries due to the reduced need for the use of physical force on a distressed-person call, it is likely many, many lives have been saved over the years,” Maciol said. “We are most grateful that HVCC President Roger Ramsammy immediately embraced the EDPRT mission and signed on to provide a facility for the training.”

“It is very fitting that Hudson Valley, a community college, plays a role in bringing this important training to our local law enforcement personnel,” Dr. Ramsammy said. “First responders will learn methods and skills they can use in the field to help troubled individuals when they need it most, thus creating safer communities and neighborhoods for the long term.”

The week-long training will include classes and workshops on indicators of emotional disturbance, symptoms of mental illness, communication skills, suicide intervention, specific mental illnesses, trauma, mental hygiene law, community resources, mental health issues pertaining to veterans, the elderly and juveniles, mental health court/probation and the validity of law enforcement in 2020. Sessions will include role play, personal stories and attention to the stress and mental health issues experienced by police and first responders themselves.

Ainsley Thomas, HVCC’s chief diversity officer who heads its Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, will be among the trainers, focusing on how diversity and emotional intelligence contribute to community trauma. Retired Police Sgt. Eric Weaver, executive director of the Rochester-based Overcoming the Darkness, LLC, also will lead sessions pertaining to communication/de-escalation skills, suicide intervention, trauma and police stress. Professionals from mental health agencies and organizations throughout the Capital Region will teach the remaining classes and workshops. Maciol said 30 participants are expected to attend.

More Information

For more information about the training, please contact Katherine Maciol, president/chief executive officer of CEO in Troy, at

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