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In the News: News from August 2018

RLEA offers new CIT course, new use-of-force training

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

CAPCOG’s Regional Law Enforcement Academy (RLEA) offered its first 40-hour Crisis Intervention Training course Aug. 13 through 17. As of April 2018, the course is a new state requirement for officers seeking intermediate certifications; those without an intermediate certificate or higher will need to complete the course within two years and take an update every four. Other new courses such as De-escalation Techniques Limiting the Use-of-Force in Public Interactions also will be available later this year.

The 40-hour crisis intervention course replaces its 16-hour predecessor by focusing more on key concepts, safety techniques and communication skills for responding to those in a mental health crisis. It trains peace officers to recognize indicators of mental illness, understand mental illness, how to work with mentally ill individuals and their families, and how to implement intervention strategies for low and high risk situations. While August’s course is full, CAPCOG will continue to offer the course throughout the training cycle.

The new de-escalation course is a requirement for intermediate and advanced certifications. Peace officers with basic certifications will need to take the new de-escalation course every four years. The course improves officers’ response to incidents involving people in crisis who are behaving erratically. It emphasizes public and officer safety while teaching tactical de-escalation to reduce the intensity of an encounter with a suspect. The training enables officers with additional options for voluntary compliance and to mitigate the need for a higher level of force while they maintain control of the situation. CAPCOG plans to offer the course in October.

> Check course availability.
> Learn more about RLEA.

CAPCOG General Assembly to set budget in September

Friday, August 17, 2018

CAPCOG’s General Assembly meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12 at the Wyndham Garden Austin, 3401 South IH 35 Frontage Road in Austin where its General Assembly representatives will consider the 2019 Fiscal Year Budget and elect the committee charged with recommending next year’s Executive Committee membership.

The current proposed budget, which goes before the CAPCOG Executive Committee in August, estimates expenditures for FY 2019 at $26.6 million, $13.3 million of which is allocated for 9-1-1 emergency communications expenses and $6.8 million of which is allocated to aging services program expenses. The Executive Committee will recommend a budget and a list of General Assembly members to serve on the Nominating Committee, a committee of seven members elected every September to develop a slate of city and county elected officials to be considered at December’s General Assembly meeting for the 2019 Executive Committee. They must also nominate four state legislators. A full meeting agenda and proposed budget will be mailed to General Assembly representatives later in August.

> General Assembly Members can RSVP for the meeting.

General Assembly members can attend for free and should contact Mason W. Canales, CAPCOG member services coordinator for a registration code.

Others can attend for the cost of lunch, $35.

> Learn about the General Assembly.

Striking a Balance Conference balances caregiving, self-caring

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

This year’s Striking a Balance Conference conducted by the Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area (AAACAP) will feature Dr. Barry Jacobs, a clinical psychologist, family therapist and author of “The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers: Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping an Aging Parent”.  The conference will be 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Doubletree Hilton, 6505 North IH 35 in Austin.

Jacobs will lead the 17th annual Striking a Balance Conference for family caregivers by discussing how to make sense of the turmoil caused by caregiving and ways to cope with competing loyalties, role reversal and changes caused by illnesses. “Speakers like Dr. Jacobs can be an extremely valuable resources for family caregivers,” said Patty Bordie, CAPCOG’s AAACAP director. “He is a practitioner who treats issues related to family caregiving because of his own passion about the subject born from his own caregiving experiences.”

Every year the conference brings national speakers to the region to educate family caregivers about achieving equilibrium in their lives while caring for loved ones. It is organized by AAACAP and Age of Central Texas, which seeks to improve the lives of caregivers by providing them with resources.

The conference also will include several breakout sessions on a variety of caregiving topics including caregiver 101, working caregivers, nutrition and aging and sleep changes through aging. However, the sharing and conversation among caregiver attendees is often the most valued benefit provided by the conference.

“When you bring more than a hundred caregivers together, they share stories and experiences and learn from one another,” Bordie said. “They learn they are not alone in experiencing their feelings, and they learn about what others have accomplished to strike a balance to be the best caregiver for their loved ones and their selves.”

> Register for the conference.
> Learn more about AAACAP.
> Learn about Age of Central Texas.

Disaster debris workshop empowers governments with pre-planning

Monday, August 13, 2018

CAPCOG will host a workshop on Planning for Disaster Debris Management from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18 to help prepare communities for mitigating trash and rubble caused by natural and man-made incidents. The workshop will be at CAPCOG’s offices, 6800 Burleson Building 310, Suite 165, in Austin.

“Local governments that have pre-approved disaster debris management plans by the Texas Division of Emergency Management and FEMA can initiate response and mitigation activities immediately knowing that they will be eligible for reimbursement and sometimes receive greater re-imbursement rates than those without,” said Ken May, CAPCOG regional program coordinator.

Attendees will learn debris management components and best practices by using existing plan examples and case studies giving them the materials and skills needed to effectively and efficiently plan for debris management. Proper pre-planning for disaster debris protects critical infrastructure, minimizes health and safety risks, and assists with efficiently restoring a community to its pre-disaster state. While designed for emergency managers, this workshop benefits a variety of groups to include law enforcement personnel, government administrators, city planners, firefighters, hazardous materials teams, public works personnel, and community and residential volunteers

> Register for the workshop at
> Contact May for assistance in developing a disaster debris management plan.

AAACAP enlightens professional care managers

Thursday, August 09, 2018

The Area Agency on Aging of the Capital Area, a division of CAPCOG, is conducting a seminar for professional care managers and counselors so they can promote more positive caregiving support interventions throughout the region. The three-hour seminar starts at 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 24 in Room 1.108 at the JJ Pickle Research Center, 10100 Burnet Road in Austin.

Two national speakers — Clinical psychologists, Dr. Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D. and Dr. Julia L. Mayer, Psy.D., — will discuss with social workers and care managers how the long-term care they provide affects the lives of care receivers and their family caregivers. Jacobs presents regularly on caregiving for family caregivers, community groups, and medical and mental health professionals, and he is the national spokesperson on caregiving for the American Heart Association. Mayer specializes in women’s issues, including caregiving. Both are published on caregiving topics.

> Register for the seminar.
> Learn more about AAACAP.

Social Work CEUs will be offered.

CAPCOG hosts Connected Nation to discuss rural broadband issues

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Connected Nation, a nationwide nonprofit that helps expand broadband Internet, will bring together state and federal agencies with local leaders to discuss issues related to broadband infrastructure development and broadband adoption rates in rural communities. CAPCOG will host Connected Nation to conduct the meeting from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 23 at its offices, 6800 Burleson Road, Building 310 Suite 165 in Austin.

Access to the Internet via broadband services can be a major economic driver for rural communities, and there are multiple grants available to assist communities in developing the infrastructure to support the service; however, these resources often go untapped, said Tom Stephenson with Connected Nation. This meeting and several others being conducted around the state are to help garner feedback about access to such programs and how to get people and businesses better connected to the Internet. The feedback will be used to help foundations better target their programs.

Attending the meeting will be representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Texas Department of Agriculture, and Central Texas Library Systems. Local elected officials from every jurisdiction who are interested in the topic are welcome to attend.

> Learn about Connected Nation.
> Read about the CAPCOG Planning and Economic Development Division.

Symposium shares emergency planning best practices for schools

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

The development of a school safety protocol and how its work with schools for planning, education, collaboration, communication and operational exercises was outlined by Hays County Emergency Services Director Kharley Smith at CAPCOG’s School Safety Symposium. CAPCOG also demonstrated its use-of-force simulator to school district attendees which uses mock scenarios to train officers for responding to threats inside schools.

To develop its School Safety Protocol, Hays County Emergency Management, the Sherriff’s Office, San Marcos Police Department, and San Marcos Fire Marshall’s Office collaborated with each school district in the county and launched the protocol at every campus. “It really doesn’t have to be complicated,” Smith said noting the county’s protocol briefly outlines actions for faculty, staff and students to take during all emergencies. “You have four directives that would apply to all hazards.”

The event brought together public safety agencies and school districts representatives to discuss emergency planning for school campuses by featuring Hays County’s county-wide School Safety Protocol program recently recognized by Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

Hays County conducts an emergency drill at every school once a year. “We drill, we practice for muscle memory,” Smith said. During the drills, students, faculty and staff practice the protocols either a lockdown or lockout drill while public safety teams practice responding as if the incident was real. Training in tandem prepares everyone involved to know what to expect from one another during emergencies. It also builds a relationship between the first responders, students and school district personnel, Smith said. As part of the drill, emergency personnel and school district staff discuss the operation before and after the exercise to learn from each drill.

Hays County also conducts an educational campaign once a year at every campus, where they show videos and hold a general assembly for older students while teachers present the information to younger students — first through third graders. “Every year, every year, we are teaching this to the students and the first responders,” Smith said. “So the faculty, staff, and students all learn the same thing. We have trained over 300,000 people in Hays County since the program began… we have trained so much that the procedures have become common language.”

Lt. David Burns with the Hays County Sherriff’s Office also discussed the Avoid, Deny and Defend strategy or ADD, which teaches people to first attempt to avoid a shooter or threat, then attempt to deny an assailant entry into their location, and defend themselves as a last resort. The strategy is taught through Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center’s Civilian Response to Active Shooter Event Program.

> View the Hays County Emergency Services School Safety Protocol presentation.

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