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De-Escalation Strategies

We respond to crises every day. What differentiates those being amicably resolved and others becoming violent and often going viral? It is the response to the person in crisis by the authority figure. This response does not necessarily have to solve the problem causing the crisis, it just needs to validate the problem’s existence and the emotions it is causing. It also needs to find a path to work through all of these components. At Kenniff Training & Consulting, we help your personnel learn the basic strategies for responding to people in crisis and how to keep that crisis from compounding by being professional, personable, and polite in ways that keep things civil, regardless of the outcome.

 
 

CIT Training / Recertification

The 40-hour Memphis Model of crisis intervention team training involves members of the community who see, work with or live with persons struggling due to their mental illnesses or addictions. It seeks to ensure a proper response to those situations and crises and focuses on getting people help not put in handcuffs.

 

Lt. Kenniff (ret.) has been part of this team in the Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte County, Florida area for over 20 years. Let Kenniff Training & Consulting help you start up your program or enhance your existing training. Courses offered are 40-hour C.I.T. Memphis Model initial certification and a newly developed C.I.T. recertification course – as a deficiency has come to light on how often members practice the skills needed to be successful in mental health/addiction crisis.

 

This 3-day course will help refresh the knowledge and skills garnered from the 40-hour course and is recommended every three years. Don’t have CIT? Kenniff Training & Consulting can provide the basic groundwork for setting up a partnership in your area.

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Healthy Mindset & Mental Wellness / Crisis Recognition & Response

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All agencies want to focus on providing excellent service to the public. How does an agency recruit and retain officers who are “healthy”? What does “healthy” mean for an officer? How does an agency meet public expectations and keep its officers healthy to meet those expectations?

 

The law enforcement officer suicide rate is consistently over the national average and usually rivals those officers who were killed in the line of duty. What is suicide prevention for officers and where does it come from? A healthy mindset must start at the top, where real-life policies and procedures can be implemented to ensure that line officers know they are in a positive culture; an agency culture that recognizes the effects of the stress of “the job” and has in place support systems to help alleviate the negative effects of a career in law enforcement, what John Marx calls “Blue Trauma Syndrome.” 

An agency that completely acknowledges the toll of police work can then set up a support system to help officers work through the stress a career in law enforcement brings. All agencies want to focus on providing excellent service to the public. How does an agency recruit and retain officers who are “healthy”? What does “healthy” mean for an officer? How does an agency meet public expectations and keep its officers healthy to meet those expectations?

 

The law enforcement officer suicide rate is consistently over the national average and usually rivals those officers who were killed in the line of duty. What is suicide prevention for officers and where does it come from? A healthy mindset must start at the top, where real life policies and procedures can be implemented to ensure that line officers know they are in a positive culture; an agency culture that recognizes the effects of the stress of “the job” and has in place support systems to help alleviate the negative effects of a career in law enforcement, what John Marx calls “Blue Trauma Syndrome.” An agency that completely acknowledges the toll of police work can then setup a support system to help officers work through the stress a career in law enforcement brings.

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WHAT PEOPLE SAY

“I’ve had the good fortune to work closely with Lt. Kenniff for many years relating to CIT training for law enforcement personnel. My expertise with Florida’s Baker Act and Marchman Act has integrated well with his expertise in policing. He’s done an excellent job in interpreting critical information into law enforcement operations. He has also been a great advocate for bringing about the best strategies to benefit officers, law enforcement agencies, behavioral health providers, and individuals/families experiencing serious mental illness and substance abuse disorders. Leaders in many other Florida communities have looked to Lt. Kenniff for advice and technical assistance..” 

 

—  Martha Lenderman,

MSW, Consultant

(Co-Author of Florida's Involuntary Commitment Law known as the Baker Act)

 
 

Bias Recognition & Response

Bias is real but it is not always negative or bad. Failure to acknowledge the subconscious thoughts and patterns that were imprinted or given to us in our early years has led to problems and protests the scale of which we have not seen before. The topic of bias is often negatively presented and negatively received. So much so that many agencies just stand by their policies that say they will not discriminate, only to find their policy statement doesn’t always create the facts. Kenniff Training & Consulting has been providing bias recognition and response training that fosters understanding and discussion, based upon the philosophy that knowledge is power, and power over self is paramount.

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Leadership & Ethics

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Once they are promoted; once officers are given the responsibility of leadership; they must make choices that balance the needs of their subordinates with the demands of the agency and the expectations of the community. Much like ethics for new hires, the newly promoted supervisor is often thought to simply divine the qualities necessary to do the job at the next level. Sure, there are supervision schools and training on the tasks of being “the boss,” but the actual management of people and their personalities, in keeping with both agency policy and community expectations is often left to chance. Kenniff Training & Consulting will provide your newly sworn supervisors the insight of years of supervision and leadership experience, or work with your own trainers to develop a leadership program that will help your supervisors - both civilian and sworn - find their path to true leadership.

Along these lines, ethics in the academy may be a two- or four-hour block of instruction, presented at the beginning of a recruit’s training and maybe referenced in some other topics during their training. But, most agencies do not have regular ongoing ethics training as they take it as being offensive to their members. This has led to some serious issues; tragedies and even criminal charges and civil settlements in the millions of dollars. It’s great to have agency, mission, vision, and values statements but we now see that ethics can be a perishable skill for some and training is needed to reinforce the skills and mindset of service, integrity, and respect for officers and their community members. Kenniff Training & Consulting can provide guidance and instruction on all these ethical challenges with certified ethics instructors who present with real experience having done the job. Kenniff Training & Consulting can help your officers practice the mental skills necessary to not only survive but thrive, all while meeting the expectations of both the community and complying with agency policy.

 

Motivational & Keynote Speaking

Sometimes an organization needs an outside voice to inspire them, remind them or move them forward. Lt. Kenniff (ret.) has been speaking and presenting for over 20 years. If your organization has a need for a boost or wants an info session on any of the topics listed here or breakout topics such as trauma and post-traumatic stress, suicide prevention, and postvention, police suicide case studies, or general mental health issues, Kenniff Training & Consulting has you covered.

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Lt. Charles Kenniff (Ret.) 

Lt. Charles Kenniff (Ret.)

Lt. Charles Kenniff (retired) is a 37-year law enforcement veteran. A graduate of the New York City Police Academy, he worked for NYPD before relocating to Florida and joining the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office in 1990.

At the sheriff’s office, Lt. Kenniff was the commander of his agency’s training section, overseeing all aspects of both law enforcement and corrections training, including its field and in-service training programs. Over 1,000 officers from surrounding jurisdictions have received their CIT training from Lt. Kenniff. He was also the agency’s lead instructor and facilitator for its Leadership Academy which prepares newly promoted sworn and civilian supervisors to successfully navigate the challenges of 21st-Century Policing.

 

He has received numerous citations and awards and is a state-recognized expert on special populations and the Baker Act. He has been involved with Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training, specifically the “Memphis Model” since 2003, and is a Master CIT instructor as designated by the University of South Florida and the Florida CIT Coalition. He also has a special CIT youth instructor designation. He was selected to participate on the working group for the development of the crisis intervention component of FDLE’s basic recruit program, as well as its SRO-CIT course, which he has also taught on numerous occasions.

Lt. Kenniff was one of the first to complete CIT International’s Certified Coordinator course and he continues to teach civilians and law enforcement about the safe and proper response to persons in crisis due to mental/emotional illness, addictions, and organic brain diseases. He recently stepped down from a board of director’s position with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Sarasota and Manatee Counties affiliate having “termed-out” after 8 years, but continues to participate in speaking engagements on behalf of NAMI as a subject-matter expert. In 2020 he was honored to receive NAMI Florida’s CIT Officer of the Year award. He is currently consulting on a joint project for the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the DOJ and the BJA to enhance the CIT component of its existing curriculum.

​Since retiring in March of 2021 and forming Kenniff Training & Consulting, he is providing use of force training and de-escalation strategies for law enforcement agencies and de-escalation strategies for other first-responder agencies and corporations nationwide, along with ethics and leadership training for supervisors and line personnel to ensure positive outcomes from community interactions regardless of the scenario.

Lt. Kenniff has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and has participated in numerous advanced leadership and law enforcement trainings.