While deescalation remains dripping from the tongues of law enforcement administrators from sea to shining sea, street cops everywhere are getting a good belly laugh and probably a pain in their collective bottoms at the same time. Why? Because a huge number of street troops have already been doing amazing deescalating for years without any need to have so-called “scientific- based techniques and stratagems” rammed down their gullets.
Believe it. Thousands of times a day, officers interact with members of the public, and, now listen up, in 99% of the cases, the coppers are doing what?? They are deescalating. Whether it’s a stop for speeding, a D.V. response, a welfare or wellness check, a noise complaint, animals pooping on a neighbor’s lawn, teenagers caught drinking behind the 7-11, homeless junkie writhing in pain behind the 7-11, supposed adults duking it out at their kids high school homecoming game, on and on ad nauseum. Good cops, for the most part, have been deescalating for decades, if not centuries because…what?? Because the last thing most officers, especially veterans want, is to roll around in the mud or the concrete, bouncing off the walls or perish the thought, getting into a situation where no amount of deescalating can possibly work. So, unless you’re dealing with a young macho knucklehead new to policing or a veteran who, for whatever reasons, just loved to rumble, deescalating has been the buzzword forever for many, many officers. And now, especially in this day and age, where the media scrutiny is giving cops, figuratively, a cavity search every time they interact with the public, they’re looking to deescalate evermore.
Sadly, in too many cases, they aren’t even engaging so they don’t have to worry about deescalating should it have been an option.
Every officer worth his vinegar knows deescalation isn’t going to begin with anyone but themselves, because most subjects with whom they deal aren’t in a frame of mind to de escalate. So, of course, it will begin with the responding officers who can, hopefully, work their magic to defuse the situation before it turns butt ugly.
Sure, everything’s gotta be an integrated response, including good information, tactics and certainly the initial approach. If you come on like a bull in a china shop, many times you’re likely to get cut with shards of breaking china.
Whether you’re dealing with subjects stoned out of their gourds, drunk on their asses, running naked on a meth high, furious because they just got fired from their job at the slaughterhouse, etcetera, etcetera. Here is my two fold take for all officers.
Number one. Never, ever forget the huge benefits of doing what-if scenarios. They pertain to human-to-human dealings, not just how you’d react if you saw someone knocking over the Circle K.
Number two. Do those what-ifs every day with a cop who has at least 10 years on the streets.
You’ll never go wrong, and you’ll find yourself prepared in ways you never imagined. Does anyone ever think a Shakespearean actor ever got it right, unless he did what?? Rehearsed and rehearsed until he probably ended up hating Shakespeare. But it works, in my humble opinion, virtually every time.
Online training and education is taking center stage at an ever increasing rate. For the best online training, avail yourselves of our free two week preview at lineofduty.com. Click on the free preview. I’m Ron Barber and that’s Stuff You Never Ever Learned at the Academy.