Public Safety Partners with Vistelar to Enhance De-Escalation Skills Training for Public Safety Officers

August 25, 2021

Public Safety has partnered with Vistelar, a conflict management training and consulting institute to offer a three-hour training to serve as a supplement to the comprehensive crisis management and de-escalation training already in place. The course will be offered online, which will provide the Public Safety team with more flexibility in scheduling and a more interactive learning platform.  

The expanded training through Vistelar builds on the existing diversity and inclusion curriculum design based on training from the Crisis Prevention Institute with Columbia-specific in-house online training to build annual knowledge reinforcement on concepts and issues closely connected to inclusive public safety, including community values, inclusion, and belonging, mental health and well-being, de-escalation, and effective interactions with the community.  Public Safety officers also receive training presented by the CUIMC Student Health staff instructors which includes engagement skills, empathetic listening, knowledge of campus resources, and how to facilitate referrals to professional resources.     

Required by all Public Safety team members, the department anticipates that 300 Public Safety members will complete the online course with Vistelar within the next year and be able to immediately use the skills they have learned while on patrol around our campus. 

The expanded training with Vistelar grew in part out of discussions in meetings of the University’s Inclusive Public Safety Working Group about strengthening the approach to de-escalation and other responses to student crises by creating online training focused on key University values and core concepts. As an extension of Columbia's commitment to anti-racism and in particular to anti-Black racism, the Working Group, comprised of students, faculty, staff, and members of the Public Safety leadership team, is charged to work with the leadership of the Office of Public Safety to examine existing training and practices and to recommend concrete strategies for ensuring inclusive safety for all who are on Columbia’s campuses.  

Read the press release to learn more about Columbia Public Safety’s partnership with Vistelar. For additional information on the training and development offered to the Public Safety team, visit the Public Safety training and development page