Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Learn the Art of Avoiding Violence

police officer


To help reduce the need for use of force, LEMIT is offering "Force Mitigation and De-escalation Techniques."

In an effort to reduce the need for use of force in the field, the Bill Blackwood Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas is offering a course on Feb. 15 to learn the art of avoiding violence.

“Force Mitigation and De-escalation Techniques” is a combat-confrontation avoidance course where participants will learn communication skills and evidence-based active diffusion strategies to avoid or resolve conflict. Participants will explore de-escalation techniques, conflict resolution methods, and distraction approaches that can protect officers in the field, reduce civilian complaints, and decrease civil litigation. The course also discusses tactical responses when diffusion techniques are inappropriate or ineffective.

“As a supervisor, we call it ‘lawful, but awful,’” said Lt. Noel Shelton of the Hempstead Police Department, who developed the training for his agency and has been asked to present it to other law enforcement departments. “Technically speaking, the use of force may be justified in the action, but it was awful in term of public perception. The public wants to see if it could have been avoided. We don’t want to throw fuel on the fire, and there is an expectation of what we should and should not say.”

Through the use of lectures and demonstrations, participants will learn how to assess situations to determine the level of escalation, risks, and sources of conflict. The course will also help officers adapt specific approaches to address the problem based on their assessment and implement a plan using de-escalation technique. Participants will learn how to:

  • Contribute to officer safety
  • Enhance relationship in the community
  • Improve officer’s verbal communication skills
  • Identify opportunities to de-escalate situations
  • Minimize the need for use of force

As an example, Lt. Shelton recently had a situation where a guest had become unruly at a wedding venue. Police worked extensively with family members to calm the situation, but when the guest remained belligerent, it was the family members who asked police to take him away.

In those situations that do require the use of force, the course also will address tactical methods that can be employed.

The program is available to all law enforcement officers in Texas, and participants will earn eight hours of credit from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement. The cost of the course is $95 and included lunch.

For more information about the program, contact Program Coordinator Yvette Shorten at wys001@shsu.edu or 936-294-3851.