Ames Police Department focused on staff training

Mackenzie Bodell, Senior Reporter

Several members of the Ames Police Department staff led a two-day applied suicide intervention skills training (ASIST) session for the public in January.

The January activity report put out by the department included an overview of their training, outreach and engagement.

On Jan. 28 and Jan. 29, Ames PD Officer Tyler Fischer, Ames PD Mental Health Advocate Julie Saxton, Ames Firefighter Sarah Chingren and Public Information Officer Sgt. Amber Christian led the first ASIST training session.

While Chingren is an Ames firefighter, she is also the founder of The RedShirt Foundation, a nonprofit organization she started. Her instruction for the ASIST training sessions is separate from her work as a firefighter.

More information regarding ASIST can be found on the LivingWorks website. These trainings are available to the public. The next training is March 28-29. To sign up, email Christian at [email protected].

“The entire department also did the de-escalation training, and that’s a big one for us,” Christian said.

Along with the de-escalation training, some officers participated in interview and interrogation training and constitutional use of force training.

The Ames Police Department’s January activity report statistics also saw some increases as Iowa State students returned from winter break.

Summary statistics:

  • Year-to-date calls for service: 2,371
  • January calls for service: 2,371
  • January arrests/charges: 120
  • January citations: 221
  • January use of force incidents: 10
  • January accidents: 106
  • January written warnings: 123
  • Total estimated damage: $496,800

January calls for service stayed relatively the same as December, which had 2,286 calls. Arrest/charges numbers increased by 25 from December to January. Citation numbers also rose from 186 in December. There were ten use-of-force incidents compared to eight in December.

Accident numbers dropped from 141 in December to 106 in January. Written warnings rose from 98 to 123.

“December is generally slow for us, just with everybody gone,” Christian said. “Students coming back is a good possibility for those increases.”

In January, the total estimated damage was $496,800. The total estimated damage is calculated by an officer’s best judgment on any damage caused by accidents.

More information regarding January statistics, training and outreach can be found in the report.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include more background on Chingren’s role within ASIST.