Shift Briefing Series: Taking an integrated approach to de-escalation

When officers deploy de-escalation tactics in the field, they should do so in conjunction with other concepts like the 'Safety Priorities'


The Shift Briefing Series is designed to provide law enforcement officers with short training videos that will help make them smarter, safer and more efficient in daily operations and when responding to critical incidents. The videos address key components of the Top 20 Concepts, a class I created and have presented around the country since 2011. The class addresses 20 foundational concepts in law enforcement that are based in law, policy and ethics, are repeatable and defensible, and assist with critical incident decision-making. Group discussion questions are listed after each video to help solidify the topics and ensure the application is in line with your department’s mission and values.

This video focuses on using concepts like the “Safety Priorities” to properly apply de-escalation tactics to police encounters in the field and provides examples of how de-escalation should be evaluated when making decisions about the use of force. The de-escalation of one’s self is also explored, along with the concept of “energy” and how both are essential to an officer’s efforts to de-escalate situations.


Questions to ask

  1. What are the three forms of de-escalation and how are they applied to the daily activities of law enforcement officers?
  2. What are the ways to de-escalate yourself when you are getting “wound-up” during an encounter with another employee or citizen?
  3. How is a suicidal subject walking in a neighborhood, armed with a knife, different from a suicidal subject, armed with a knife, alone in their own home?
  4. How is the concept of “energy” relevant to de-escalation and conflict resolution?
  5. How do you articulate using force as a de-escalation tactic on a suicidal subject, armed with a gun, walking in a neighborhood when they are “not doing anything” to anyone?
  6. Are the policies in your organization in conflict with the video’s explanation of de-escalation? Should a review of the policies be conducted to clarify any discrepancies?

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