California Police Chief- Fall 2013 CPCA_2019_Spring Magazine- FINAL - Page 33

We implemented training in three phases. PHASE 1: An interactive presentation on De-escalation concepts/strategies. This presentation was 2-3 hours in length and covered the most basic principles of de- escalation: Time-Talk-Tactics. This was an important phase as we had to dispel many myths associated with the de-escalation process; such as officers must compromise officer safety in order to effectively de-escalate a situation. In reality, de-escalation concepts should increase officer safety and the safety for the subject(s) in crisis. It’s a win/win scenario. We ensured officers were speaking a common language. The end goal of phase #1 was to increase officers’ awareness, provide methods of how to build confidence in tools and tactics, and proficiency in de-escalation tactics overall. PHASE 2: A review of de-escalation concepts by reviewing video of critical incidents. Officers were teamed up in groups, shown a video of a person in crisis/critical incident involving a law enforcement contact. After the video each officer group had to critically debrief the content of the video, making suggestions on how to effectively de-escalate the situation while also considering officer safety strategies. The video debrief allowed officers to compare/contrast tactics/ tools in order to evaluate effective de-escalation strategies. Additionally, we presented a discussion with the officers regarding our agency’s tools available for use during critical incidents. PHASE #3: Focused on scenario training. We constructed various scenarios with role players. Officers had to use de-escalation concepts from Phase 1, knowledge of tools/resources from Phase 2, and employ de- escalation techniques with role players simulating critical incidents. Officers were put into patrol teams and a simulated dispatcher-initiated calls to officer groups. Officers were dispatched in a phased manner depending on the nature of the call. Once officers arrived on scene, they had to use all available resources as if it were a real incident. Officers had to balance de-escalation concepts and use time, tools, and tactics to de- escalate the incident. Communication ques were predetermined with role players so if the officers mishandled the situation the scenario would escalate and vice versa. Concluding each scenario, the officer group would debrief the incident and discuss their de-escalation effectiveness. One scenario was established as a failure scenario. No matter how effective the de-escalation tactics employed by the officers, the situation was elevated to a use-of-force encounter. The purpose behind this scenario was to reinforce officer safety principles and remind officer not all situations can be de-escalated. In conclusion of our training, officers responded positively. Officers reported a boost in confidence with their systems and abilities and expressed a desire to continue with more training in the future. Moving forward with our De-escalation Training, we have included an introduction of de-escalation concepts with recruits in our Field Training Program, began using monthly “Roll- Call” de-escalation training, and also now internally track the de-escalation of incidents by use of our Use of Force form. De-escalation is not new to law enforcement but is a principle that must be revisited, understood, and trained regularly in order to effectively protect the public and our officers from the many encounters they face daily. ■ SPRING 2019 | California Police Chief 33