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Tactical Communications: The Art of De-Escalation

Course Number: PA-623
Course Length: 1 Day (7.5 Hours)

Classes are available on a limited basis.

Law enforcement officers, probation officers, and treatment professionals are frequently tasked with dealing with a variety of differing personalities when encountering the public. Some of these encounters can be characterized as negative in nature. Most violent encounters begin with a breakdown in the communication process between the law enforcement or treatment professional and the individual they have encountered. Many times, these incidents begin with non-verbal cues indicating an attack is about to occur. What is said and done during these critical moments can many times determine whether the outcome is a positive one or the situation erodes into a physical encounter and, quite possibly, a civil liability concern.

This course delves into the communication model, taking a detailed look at what communication is while examining each step in the process. We look at verbal skills, non-verbal behaviors, and effective intervention techniques that are instrumental in defusing conflict situations. In addition, we identify and discuss pre-attack indicators that enable law enforcement and treatment professionals to recognize when a conflict is about to escalate into a use of force situation. This will allow the individual professional to acquire necessary information from individuals while ending the encounter on a positive note, thereby minimizing the danger posed by uncooperative or hostile citizens. The topics covered also enable the individual to deal with conflict involving fellow employees and superiors more effectively, creating a healthier work environment.

Specific topics covered include effective methods of communication, barriers to communication, non-verbal communication, de-escalation techniques and pre-attack indicators. The course is designed to cover each of the topics mentioned while also delving into other areas such as proxemics and kinesics and how each is involved in defusing escalating situations. In addition, we discuss conflict resolution as it applies to interactions involving verbal abuse, and touch on characteristics exhibited by suicidal or mentally disturbed individuals as well as subjects exhibiting signs of excited delirium. These tactical communications and de-escalation techniques are being presented to enable departments and individuals to learn skills designed to prevent potential conflicts from spiraling out of control, stressing that a positive outcome is the desired goal of each citizen interaction.

When trained in communications and de-escalation techniques, the environment that we work in improves and the threat of conflict, violence, and civil litigation is greatly reduced.