Commission on POST

Mental Health Training in the Regular Basic Course

How many hours of training are in the Regular Basic Course?

California Regular Basic Courses (RBCs) are required by law to provide a minimum of 664 training hours. All POST-certified California RBCs provide more than the required 664 hours, and most of them average 850 hours.

What is a Learning Domain?

Mandated training hours are divided into 42 individual law enforcement topics called Learning Domains (LDs). Learning Domain 37: People with Disabilities, is one of those LDs. As specified in 13519.2 PC, POST is required to provide adequate training in the academy on developmental disabilities and mental illness.

What does Learning Domain 37 teach RBC trainees?

Learning Domain 37 (LD37) – Persons with Disabilities, provides foundational training on the recognition, appropriate response, and importance of referrals when handling incidents involving people with mental illness and disabilities. It is designed to:

  • Introduce the laws that protect people with disabilities.
  • Enhance the recognition of behaviors that are indicative of disability or mental illness.
  • Provide de-escalation skills.
  • Teach situation-appropriate responses and referrals to the individual and community.
  • Reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and disabilities.

In addition to Learning Domain 37, sixteen other Learning Domains review aspects of people with disabilities.

What is required to complete LD37?

The successful completion of LD37 requires trainees to receive a minimum of 15 hours of instruction, participate in learning activities, pass a written exam, and successfully resolve a scenario involving a person with mental illness or disability. The LD37 scenario is considered a “high stakes” scenario; if a trainee fails the scenario, and after remedial training fails the retest, the trainee will fail the academy.

Is LD37 course content reflective of contemporary law enforcement needs and modern practices?

In early 2015, subject matter experts from POST, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental health professionals, RBC administration, and RBC training were gathered together in a workshop to review LD37 course curricula, the Training and Testing Specifications (TTS), and the associated workbook. As a result, contemporary language, information, and adult learning activities were added to the TTS. POST will conduct a third workshop in 2015 with its partners and stakeholders to align the associated LD37 Workbook with the changes made in the TTS. Moving forward, LD37 will be subject to review and change in the event of :

  • New legislative mandates
  • Changes to the laws addressed in LD37
  • Substantial changes in our understanding of how law enforcement can safely and effectively manage encounters with the mentally ill or developmentally disabled