What does de-escalation really mean?

De-escalation is not a tactic. De-escalation is a desired end state


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De-escalation is the latest buzzword. A couple of weeks ago, we spoke about a Seattle officer who faced some manner of “disciplinary action” for taking down an axe-wielding man because he failed to de-escalate the situation. But de-escalation is not a tactic like Verbal Judo utilizing Dr. George Thompson's concepts or some other communications wizardry. De-escalation is a desired end state. It is doing what is necessary to take a volatile and/or violent situation and making it less volatile and/or violent. In this podcast segment, Jim and Doug discuss the fact that cops have literally talked people off of ledges and into handcuffs for decades, and the fact that de-escalation requires the willingness of the other participant in a situation — the offender.

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