Novato and San Rafael police want to form joint crisis response unit

- The Novato and San Rafael police departments have proposed forming a joint Crisis Response Unit to support field officers dealing with violent individuals who pose a threat to the community and police officers.

The proposed team would be called the San Rafael-Novato Regional Response Unit and serve both cities, according to a joint news release released by the departments.

The San Rafael City Council will consider the proposal Monday, and the Novato City Council will consider it Nov. 28. The joint Crisis response Unit would be activated Jan. 1, 2018.

The two police departments said they are fortunate the services of a Crisis response Unit are rarely needed, but the departments need to be as prepared as possible to respond to those events. 

Both police departments have crisis negotiations and Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. The joint Crisis Response Unit will be comprised of officers and supervisors who are specially trained in tactics and crisis negotiations.

The Crisis Response Units have skills that exceed the capability of patrol officers, and their ability to deploy highly trained individuals and specialized resources significantly increases the probability of a safe and peaceful resolution to critical incidents, according to the police 

The merger of the two police departments to form a Crisis Response Unit also will reduce overtime and equipment expenses, improve levels of training and reduce staffing as the cities provide fewer team members than they individually authorize. 

Sharing costs and expertise will benefit both cities, the departments said. 

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