Start controlling the scene before you get there

October 05, 2009

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Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D. Passion for the Job
with Chief Joel F. Shults, Ed.D.

Tip: Start controlling the scene before you get there

“The first arriving officer has a tremendous advantage over the folks who are already in the mess that generated the 911 call. Take a deep breath, plan your approach, and talk yourself out of plunging in with the hopes that you can fight your way out. Coordinate your arrival with other first responders. Stage your patrol vehicle and yourself to the best tactical advantage. Stop, look, listen. Gather information from a distance. Fight tunnel vision.”

Once you’re on scene, Shults says, you should then freeze the situation.

“You don’t have to solve anything right away; you just need to keep things from getting worse. Figure out the most important thing to do to make things safe. Is there a medical emergency that needs attention? Does somebody need to be cuffed up? Do you need to disengage or redeploy? Worry about life safety first, suspects getting away second, and evidence last. One of the most powerfully stabilizing things you can do is to get everybody’s identification. Collect IDs right away. Take cell phone pictures or videos of persons present. When people lose their anonymity they become invested in the outcome.”

Being calm only comes from a sense of control. Control comes from having a plan. The best plans are the simplest ones. PoliceOne Contributor Joel F Shults offers an acronym — ROSE — to keep in mind on patrol. Respond carefully, Observe objectively, Stabilize the situation, and Exit only after your work is finished.

Read the entire article from Chief Shults by clicking here.


About the author

Joel Shults operates Street Smart Training and is the founder of the National Center for Police Advocacy.. He is retired as Chief of Police in Colorado. Over his 30 year career in uniformed law enforcement and in criminal justice education Joel has served in a variety of roles: academy instructor, police chaplain, deputy coroner, investigator, community relations officer, college professor, and police chief, among others. Shults earned his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri, with a graduate degree in Public Services Administration and bachelors in Criminal Justice Administration from the University of Central Missouri. In addition to service with the US Army military police and CID, Shults has done observational studies with over fifty police agencies across the country. He has served on a number of advisory and advocacy boards including the Colorado POST curriculum committee as a subject matter expert.

Follow Joel on Twitter @ChiefShults.

Contact Joel Shults

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