Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release - Monday, March 11, 2002.

Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

Iowa Crisis Response Team Training

March 11-15 in Des Moines

DES MOINES. The Iowa Crisis Response Team -- a group of volunteers from many disciplines who are prepared to assist communities in case of a major crime or other disaster -- is training 74 new members this week.

The five-day training began Monday morning and is being conducted at Mercy Education Center in Des Moines. The Iowa Crisis Response Team, or ICRT, is coordinated by the Crime Victim Assistance Division of the Iowa Attorney General's Office.

The 40-hour training will be led by two professionals from NOVA, the National Organization for Victim Assistance. The 74 Iowans receiving the training include law enforcement officers, crime-victim service workers, medical professionals, clergy, mental health counselors, and others.

The Iowa Crisis Response Team was established when a similar training was conducted in Des Moines in April 1999. The team now consists of 56 Iowans trained in the special work of helping communities and individuals cope with the emotional trauma of disaster - especially crime-related disasters such as homicides that affect school children or other groups or whole communities.

Since the ICRT was created in 1999, small teams have been invited to assist in various situations, including a church arson crime in Fort Dodge, assistance to teachers and students after a drunk-driver killed a teacher at the Woodward Academy in Woodward, a Webster County case where an employee was killed by another employee, and in Corinth, Iowa, where a team was invited to help the community cope with a murder. Iowans also have volunteered to work with teams serving after crimes in other states.

The Iowa Crisis Response Teams also has sent eight volunteer teams to NYC and New Jersey to work with survivors, emergency workers, firefighters, police, airline pilots, flight attendants, and others coping with the September 11 attacks. The first Iowa team arrived September 23, and the last served in February. The Iowa teams averaged about eight persons each and served for about a week. Iowans provided over 450 days of service on crisis response teams at Ground Zero and in NJ.

"The Iowans gave outstanding service that was extraordinarily well-received by people in New York and New Jersey," said Attorney General Tom Miller. "Their training paid off, and now those Iowans are all the better prepared to serve here at home if they receive the call.

"We are very pleased that this week's training will prepare many more Iowans for this crucial service," Miller said. "We are grateful to the Iowans for volunteering, grateful to Mercy Medical Center for contributing their training facility, and grateful to NOVA for sending their very experienced professionals to do the training."

Crisis response teams supplement the efforts of a community's own public safety agencies who provide immediate emergency response to a crime or disaster, and mental health providers who give long-term assistance to help people recover. The NOVA training focuses on the special impact on communities of crime-related disasters, such as a multiple-killing at a school, and the special processes and techniques that help communities and individuals cope with the emotional trauma of such disasters. Crisis response teams often conduct "group crisis intervention" sessions, where people begin to recognize and understand their emotions, and to anticipate the kinds of special reactions they are likely to experience in the wake of a crime-related disaster.

The Iowa Crisis Response Team is available to help Iowa communities. Team members and their employers generally contribute the time to serve on such teams.

For information about assistance from the Iowa Crisis Response Team, communities should call Alison Whall, Attorney General's Crime Victim Assistance Division, 800-373-5044, or 515-281-5044

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