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Innovation, Transformation and Best Practices

The Sacramento Police Department (SPD) remains committed to being the most effective police department for everyone in the city of Sacramento. To improve both our practices and our relationship with our communities, SPD has devoted resources to improve several areas, including: implicit bias training, research participation, updating our use-of-force policies and training, accountability, transparency and more.

Please see our overview of the Innovation, Transformation and Best Practices at the at Sacramento Police Department for additional summary information, or review the information provided below for more detailed information on SPD's efforts.

Please also review the materials below, which summarize many of our Department’s efforts dedicated to: Recruiting and Hiring, Training, Policy, Equipment, and Transparency.



In recent years, the number of police-related calls for service involving persons with mental illness has increased.  In response to this increase, in 2015, the Sacramento Police Department implemented a training requirement that all police officers and first-line supervisors attend an eight-hour crisis intervention awareness class.  This class provides officers with a basic introduction and general awareness of mental health issues.  However, even with the SPD basic training requirement, officers that respond to these calls would benefit from additional specialized training or knowledge to deal with the mentally ill, emotionally disturbed persons, and their families.  

In the late 1980's and early 1990's, the Crisis Intervention Team training model emerged in Memphis, Tennessee, and is often referred to as the "Memphis Model."  This model incorporates law enforcement training scenarios that focus on those in mental health crisis.  In addition to training, the model includes a partnership with non-governmental mental health care providers to increase access to the existing system of mental health services to help individuals with mental illness, family members, and the responding officers.  The training is typically 40 hours of in-depth training that is widely accepted as the "gold standard" response when it comes to mental health training.

As of January 2018, almost all 657 Sacramento Police Officers have attended this training.



Crisis Intervention Training Agenda - updated for 2018.



Crisis Intervention Video 2 

Quick Action by Officer Saves Woman.  See video for full story.


Crisis Intervention Training - video 1

Officers De-escalate Threat of Man With Knife.  See video for full story.




Dr. Joel Fay

Joel Fay Psy.D served as a police officer for over 30 years and retired in 2011.  In 1999 Dr. Fay obtained his Doctorate in Psychology from American School of Professional Psychology and is now in private practice working with emergency responders from numerous organizations.  Dr. Fay’s specialty areas include psychological treatment for emergency responders, critical incident stress response, PTSD and police response to persons with mental illness. Dr. Fay teaches Crisis Intervention Training for numerous agencies throughout California.

Dr. Fay has authored/co-authored a number of articles and recently co-authored, “Counseling Cops, What Clinicians Need to Know” published by Guilford. He is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police and is on their Psychological Services Committee.  He is a past President of the Forensic Mental Health Association of California and the First Responder Support Network.  Dr. Fay is the current clinical director for the First Responder Support Network. Dr. Fay is a frequent instructor on forensic mental health and trauma reaction/ treatment issues and a guest speaker at numerous conferences throughout the country.  

Dr. Fay has received numerous awards for his work including the 2007 Humanitarian Award, presented by the California Psychological Association and the 2012 award for Outstanding Contributions to the Practice of Police & Public Safety Psychology presented by the American Psychological Association.  He is Board Certified in Police and Public Safety Psychology.

Dr. Fay teaches intervention, case law, PTSD, Suicide by Cop and Self Care for Sacramento PD CIT.

Carole McKindley-Alvarez 

Dr. Carole McKindley-Alvarez has been providing consultation and training on mental health services for over 15 years locally and nationally.    She has collaborated with non-profit, for profit, and legal entities on increasing quality of care for consumers and their family members. Dr. McKindley-Alvarez is a professor at Saint Mary's and Contra Costa Community Colleges, Consultant on organizational systemic change, and Chair of the Contra Costa County Mental Health Commission.


The Sacramento Police Department remains committed to being the most effective police department for everyone in the city of Sacramento. The department has partnered with California State University, Sacramento, the University of San Diego, California Endowment, California Wellness Foundation, and Sierra Health Foundation to conduct a survey of community members and the officers who serve them. The survey was conducted between October of 2018 and February of 2019, and is similar to a nationwide survey that was conducted by the PEW Research Center on Police and Community relations.

The survey identifies areas both where the department is performing well and those where it can improve, and examines topics such as community relations, community trust, police use of force, gun violence, and neighborhood-specific concerns. Moving forward, this survey will be conducted on an annual basis so the department can track progress in meeting the needs of the community in each of these areas.


Below you will find a playlist of videos from each area Captain describing the results of the survey as it relates to different neighborhoods throughout the city.


As always, the Sacramento Police Department continuously strives to be a progressive leader among law enforcement agencies.



The US Department of Justice, Community Relations Service, in partnership with the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Police Department has completed the initial series of community engagement and problem-solving dialogues.  Participants who live in each Police District were willing to dedicate their time to learning about existing police policies and concerns, provide feedback, and work together to improve public safety in Sacramento.

The facilitated dialogue with the U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service helped to identify and prioritize issues of concern, hear from local experts on existing procedures, and generate valuable feedback which can be used to improve current policies.  The U.S. Department of Justice Community Relations Service is currently compiling and assimilating the feedback from these meetings. 

There may be additional opportunities for further meetings on topical issues.  At that time, the application process will be reopened.