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Realistic De-Escalation Instructor Course

Course length


About the course

The Realistic De-Escalation Instructor Course thoroughly dissects the complex concept of “de-escalation” and the many elements in determining its feasibility or effectiveness in a variety of encounter types. This deeper knowledge of de-escalation is valuable to both line officers and the investigators and administrators called in to review force events after the fact. All these parties will need to determine to what extent using de-escalation techniques is feasible in specific high-pressure and rapidly unfolding encounters.

This course is designed for law enforcement trainers, whether they deal with street officers, field supervisors, investigators, attorneys, administrators or any other group within law enforcement. Instead of being based on the rhetoric that exists around the emotionally charged subject of police use-of-force encounters and the specter of excessive force, the curriculum is based on unbiased scientific realities. The Force Science Institute’s research into human behavior as it applies to high-pressure encounters and de-escalation provides essential insights for law enforcement personnel at all levels and is designed to be the basis for de-escalation training for police.

Participants in the course will learn concepts and methods that support de-escalation efforts when personal connections can be made between officers and subjects. These attendees will be given knowledge regarding ways to help people in a state of mental health crisis, or whose perception of reality is altered. Law enforcement officers using the lessons from this course will be able to better manage human beings with better skills around establishing contact, building rapport and gaining influence to achieve police objectives.

Course Goal

The goal of this program is to equip professional trainers with the scientific knowledge of resolution methods for potentially violent confrontations between law officers and subjects. This information will help participants assess the circumstances accurately and defuse those situations without violence when possible, using easy-to-grasp and successfully applied tactics to receive voluntary compliance and prevent use-of-force crises from erupting.

Due to the course’s focus on helping participants teach their colleagues the concepts of realistic de-escalation, the information can spread widely through police departments and law enforcement agencies. When departments incorporate de-escalation training for police informed by in-depth expert research, personnel are better prepared to deal with some of the most dangerous scenarios, not just to them but to public safety. This includes difficult cases such as “suicide by cop” calls and encounters in which the subject is experiencing an altered perception of reality.

Scenarios when subjects are in states such as “excited delirium” require specific approaches from responding personnel. When peace officer standards and training reflect these specific circumstances, there is a better chance for a successful resolution to even the most difficult encounters.

The ultimate goal of the Realistic De-Escalation Instructor Course is to more widely disseminate an understanding of the human factors and performance research data that can change and improve officers’ approach to force encounters. To make these concepts into mainstays in law enforcement agencies around the country, those departments will need experienced and well-prepared trainers. Graduates of this course can take on those demanding educational roles, helping their students, in turn, avoid arrest-related deaths, as well as danger to themselves or harm to bystanders.

Course Objectives
Students who finish this course and successfully pass the exam at the end of the two-day, 16-hour session will be able to do the following and teach these skills to others through departmental training programs:

• Articulate what de-escalation really means in a law enforcement context, what the objectives of this process are and in what situations de-escalation is and is not an option for officers.
• Discuss the tactical principles of de-escalation, risk assessment and decision-making.
• Quickly evaluate an interaction to determine whether de-escalation efforts are reasonable to consider, tactically practical or likely to be successful in that scenario.
• Apply concepts from the Force Science Institute's research, such as the "Response-ability Zone" and the "7 Ts De-Escalation Evaluation Model" to evaluate which tactics are needed or likely to be successful in a particular de-escalation process.
• Use the "Behavioral Influence Stairway Model" to understand how to make connections, establish rapport and apply effective principles of persuasion when officers are dealing with difficult subjects, such as those suffering from mental illness.
• Enhance de-escalation efforts by strategically combining human performance research findings, observations of subject behavior and psychological tactics related to negotiation and influence.
• Learn and apply the Thought/Emotion/Behavior (TEB) Matrix to quickly recognize what state a subject is in - "conflict," "crisis" or "contaminated thinking" - and understand which persuasion strategies will be most effective at containing the situation.
• Employ specialized questions specifically designed to cognitively engage individuals in crisis, increasing the likelihood of a resolution that either avoids or minimizes force in the process of obtaining control.
• Better ensure that officers' approach and control strategies give them the maximum possible response options, while minimizing the potential for the encounter to escalate, either emotionally or physically.

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