Q: Does the Red Wing Police Department receive training on de-escalation?
A: Yes. What is de-escalation training? De-escalation training teaches officers to slow down, create space, and use communication techniques to defuse potentially dangerous situations. It gives officers strategies to more calmly deal with people who are experiencing mental and emotional crises.
The Red Wing Police Department respects the sanctity of every human life so de-escalation training is incorporated into every training scenario. For example:
Officers will conduct a threat assessment in order to avoid unnecessary, unreasonable, or disproportionate action by placing themselves or others in undue jeopardy.
Team approaches to de-escalation are encouraged and should consider officer training and skill level, number of officers, and whether any officer has successfully established rapport with the subject. Where officers use a team approach to de-escalation, each individual officer’s obligation to de-escalate will be satisfied as long as the officer’s actions complement the overall approach.
Selection of de-escalation options should be guided by the totality of the circumstances with the goal of attaining voluntary compliance; considerations include:
Using communication intended to gain voluntary compliance, such as:
- Verbal persuasion
- Clear instructions
- Using verbal techniques, such as Listen and Explain with Equity and Dignity (LEED) to calm an agitated subject and promote rational decision-making
- Avoiding language, such as taunting or insults, that could escalate the incident
Considering whether any lack of compliance is a deliberate attempt to resist rather than an inability to comply based on factors including, but not limited to:
- Medical conditions
- Mental impairment
- Developmental disability
- Physical limitation
- Language barrier
- Drug interaction
- Behavioral crisis
- Fear or anxiety
Attempt to slow down or stabilize the situation so that more time, options and resources are available for incident resolution. Scene stabilization assists in transitioning incidents from dynamic to static by limiting access to unsecured areas, limiting mobility and preventing the introduction of non- involved community members.
Avoiding or minimizing physical confrontation, unless necessary, for example, statutes and court decisions allow for defense (to protect someone), or control (stop dangerous behavior).
Calling extra resources or officers to assist, such as the Crisis Intervention Team or less-lethal certified officers
Maximizing tactical advantage by increasing distance to allow for greater reaction time -- shielding, utilizing cover and concealment for tactical advantage, such as:
- Placing barriers between an uncooperative subject and officers
- Using natural barriers in the immediate environment
When citizens reach out for help, they are experiencing a type of crisis and our job is to lead them through the crisis in a professional, respectful and positive manner. To be effective in this task the officer(s) need to consider what is relevant to the individual (culture, education, experience and training) and the context (environment that the individual is reacting to). This is where de-escalation tactics are critical to identifying why the individual is reacting to the situation in the manner they are, which allows the officers to mitigate the situation appropriately.
1. Force Science – Realistic De-escalation training, located online at www.forcescience.org/2020/03/realistic-de-escalation
2. Verbal Judo, located online at verbaljudo.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/234/2019/03/Law-Enforcement_What-is-Verbal-Judo.pdf
3. League of Minnesota Cities, True North Constitutional Policing, located online at www.lmc.org/news-publications/magazine/jul-aug-2019/constitutional-policing
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