De-escalation for Law Enforcement
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De-escalation for Law Enforcement

Understanding what de-escalation is, how to use it without jeopardizing officer safety in the process.
0.5 (1 rating)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
7 students enrolled
Created by Mr. David Pienta
Last updated 4/2017
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Current price: $10 Original price: $125 Discount: 92% off
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  • 3 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Understand the importance of deescalation and know how to apply it to their job.
  • The participant will understand how stress can affect the decision making process.
  • The participant will learn key words and facial expressions indicative of an imminent threat.
  • The participant will define the term de-escalation.
  • The participant will better understand when to use force and what other techniques can be used to de-escalate situations.
  • The participant will understand how their voice can be important when dealing with people.
View Curriculum
  • Come in with an open mind. Be open to new ideas.
  • Basic Law Enforcement Training

This course is geared towards law enforcement.  It presents different techniques and communication skills an officer can use to de-escalate a situation without compromising officer safety.

This course utilizes some of the most up to date videos to show both good and not so good efforts of de-escalation.

As we have seen, just because we are within law and policy does not necessarily result in a positive outcome in the eyes of the public.  Using these skills, officers can minimize risk to themselves as well as the suspect.  They can also have the most positive outcome/interaction in the eyes of the community, avoiding bad press.

I developed this course with the assistance of Thomas Gleason.

Thomas Gleason, a retired Captain, spent thirty years serving in city, county and state law enforcement. He began his career in Alabama as a patrolman in New Brockton, Alabama. He then moved to Florida and accepted a position as a Sheriff’s Deputy in Polk County, where he became a member of the Emergency Response Team (SWAT).

This lead to a position with the City of Lakeland where he gained experience as a patrolman, a patrol supervisor, a field training officer, a School Resource Officer, and a Detective Sergeant over the missing persons, juvenile crimes, and sexual abuse crimes unit, Shocap programs.. In 1999, he developed and delivered a presentation entitled “Law Enforcement’s Response to Critical Incidents at Schools and Ways to Handle Critical Incidents” to the Florida Department of Education Statewide Safety Summit. While working with the City of Lakeland he also assisted in founding the Domestic Abuse Response Team, was one of the first officers in the Lakeland Community Oriented Policing Program, served as Chairman of the District 14 Juvenile Justice Board, served as Chairman of the Polk County Juvenile Justice Counsel, and served as the Second Vice-President of Florida Association of School Resource Officers from 1997-2000. In 2000, he was chosen as part of a team to teach Dynamics of Domestic Violence to Moldavian police officers and volunteers. In 2001 he attended Crisis Intervention training and developed and taught the City’s in-service training to all sworn officers.

He then expanded his experience by accepting a position with Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Capitol Police, as their Lieutenant of Special Operations. In this position he supervised the Capitol Police Canine Unit, Explosives Unit and the Investigations Unit. He also coordinated training, recruiting, and hiring of new officers. He trained officers with Capitol Police in the areas of proper critical incident response, use of firearms, and observing and eliminating armed security threats. During his tenure there he was involved in drafting and implementing the Capitol Complex Operations Plan for former Governor Jeb Bush’s 2003 inauguration and in preparing the Operations Plan for the visit by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his security detail.

In 2009 he was a subject matter expert on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Standards and Training Commission Committee which was tasked with reviewing and revamping the Basic Recruit Training Curriculum for the State of Florida.

In 2009, the Florida Department of Financial Services offered him a position as Captain over training and acquisitions. He accepted this position and became responsible for developing and overseeing training for the one-hundred and fifty detectives working throughout the State of Florida who investigate insurance fraud. During his tenure there he oversaw the transition from Sig. Sauer 9 MM to Glock .40 caliber and the training of all officers after the transition.

His passion for law enforcement training also led him to the position of Coordinator of the Law Enforcement Academy for the Florida Public Safety Institute from 2006-2009.

In 2014, he was an instructor at the High Liability Instructor’s Conference held at Florida Public Safety Institute teaching Handling Veterans, Officer Safety Response, and Managing a Training Unit.

He has been an instructor for the Florida Public Safety Institute, Department of Justice in the Valor program. He has experience teaching in the areas of: human diversity; patrol procedures; first aid; firearms; police pursuit policies; instructor techniques, and handling the mentally ill, police officer safety, De-escalation Skills.

Thomas Gleason holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Education. He has published two articles dealing with police training and domestic violence.

Who is the target audience?
  • Law Enforcement
  • Law Enforcement Instructors
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Curriculum For This Course
37 Lectures
1 Lecture 05:25

What is this course about?  What are you going to learn?  What experience does the instructor have.  This is a summary of who I am as your instructor and what experience I have.  I also discuss our goal and objectives.

Preview 05:25
Why do we need to use de-escalation?
3 Lectures 07:39

This officer thought it was OK to move furniture using his/her patrol car.  This was not a smart move.  This is why de-escalation is needed.  We all think differently.  We all react differently.  Not all of us have common sense.  For instance, we are taught that you can not use deadly force simply because someone flees the scene.  Yet, we still see some officers that do it.  Why?  Because they are not trained or not trained enough.  This is simply training that will give you some tools that will hopefully let a suspect know that you do care and you are not there to fight them.  However, keep you guard up.  You never know how someone will will react.

Preview 00:26

We have no clue what people around us are going through.  Someone could be having a devastating day or they could be having the best day of their life.  We need to treat every person we come across with kindness, respect and dignity.  It may seem like a very small problem or not a problem at all to us.  But to that person, it may the worst thing they have ever gone through, or they may perceive it that way due to other factors they are facing in their life.

Preview 04:23

Ever have a "6th sense" that something is not right?  Trust that feeling.  There is no harm in calling for backup.  If we increase the amount of time we have to respond to a situation we can make better decisions.  How  can we give ourselves more time?  We examine that in this section.

Believe in your feelings
What is de-escalation? How do I use it?
13 Lectures 01:10:53
What is de-escalation?

Did Ferguson have to happen?

Sometimes we do not have time to de-escalate.  Sometimes the scene explodes on us quickly.  However, when you slow the film down, you can see that we have visual control of the hands.  You can hear the man is simply mad about the lights.  Remember that video about empathy we saw?  What if this man has a mental condition we are unaware of?

I think this is a difficult situation.  Maybe if we get a little more distance, we have time to react?  I think this is a 50/50 situation.  I can justify the use of taser or the lack of force in this case.  Just remember, you must be able to articulate the reasons for use of force.  So think of what you would say if this officer was you.

Do we always have a change to de-escalate?

Professional face

Know your limits

Biases... What are they? Do you have one?

What is an ego? Do you have one?

Egos Will Get You in Trouble

Anger and escalation

Can you spot the signs of escalation?

Video Discussion

Do you know the signs of PTSD?  Are you aware that it may cause good people (soldiers, first responders) to act out in a manner that may be threatening?  With so many soldiers coming home and first responders dealing with casualty incidents, there are many people with PTSD.  This video is just a little insight into what life is like with a form of PTSD.  Some have it worse than others.  

PTSD - Know the signs...

Handling veterans
11 Lectures 58:47
Communication: The basics

Pursuit of armed bank robbery suspect in central Florida.  Note the position of the trooper deploying stop sticks!  What do we normally do when we end a pursuit of a known robbery suspect?  We do a felony stop.  Watch what happens!  Look at the positions of officers and troopers!  If the subject had a gun, the officers were in a direct line of fire.  The officers went into "animal brain" instead of mid-brain.  They lost sight of the big picture.  Luckily it did not cost anyone an injury or death!

Effects of stress on decision making

Body language

Do not get pulled in by hate and anger....

Is this good de-escalation?

Listening & The Eyes

Case Law

Does the Officer Have the Right To Do This?

Video Review

Marion County SO Detectives chasing a drug dealer.  This dealer had high tech surveillance at his house.  He bolted when he found out they were coming and the chase was on.  This guy was a big player in the drug community, not your local corner drug dealer.  What do you think about the use of force?

Good Use of Force?

Video Review
Effective De-escalation
8 Lectures 45:29
Effective Deescalation in a Nutshell

Use of Voice

When a pilot of US Air experienced a problem with very little altitude gained during take off, he did not panic.  They had practiced for so many scenarios for so long, he knew how to handle it.  His voice never cracked.  He never yelled.  He did not panic.  He flew the plane while getting information to/from ATC.  I think this goes to show how practicing scenarios can lead to a calm and thought out response when it hits the fan.

Perfect Response

Things Not To Do

Self Talk / What's Important Now?

Do not get caught up in dialog.  I think these officer did a great job of not getting caught up in the argument and creating a scene.  However, there were a couple of mistakes I saw made.  1)  Do not turn your gun side toward a sovereign citizen.  They are unpredictable and several have been known to kill.  2)  However hard to not do, do not smile or laugh at them.  It will escalate the situation.

Avoid Power Struggles

These officers had just gone through CIT training several weeks before this call occurs.  I think this is as close to textbook as you can get.  There were multiple officers.  They used vehicles for cover/concealment from the guy carrying the knife.  They cleared the innocent people from the backdrop in case it went south.  One got the bean bag gun, one had lethal (pistol) and one had a taser.  They formed a tactical L and avoided a cross fire situation.  Using the two less than lethals, they were able to take the suspect into custody.

Critical Incident Response Done Right

De-escalate yourself when driving.  Prior to last year, accidents were the number one killer of officers.  We not only do not do anyone any good if we do not get to the call, we hinder response to other calls when officers have to divert to our accident.  Slow down.  You are not going to get there that much faster and research has proved it.  Slow down!  The life you save may be your own!

Speed Kills
1 Lecture 04:43
Take Aways

This quiz covers what we have learned in this presentation.  You must pass this quiz with an 80% to pass the course.

Get Credit
10 questions
About the Instructor
Mr. David Pienta
0.5 Average rating
1 Review
7 Students
1 Course
LEO, Sports Official and Computer Programmer

I have worked in the criminal justice industry for 11 years as an Application Developer.  I has been a law enforcement officer for over 5 years.   I currently work as an application developer full-time for a law enforcement / federal government consulting firm in Tallahassee.  I work part-time for a major university police department.  Prior to my current department, I was a part-time Deputy with the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office.

Some of the program areas I have worked in include the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM), Tribe and Territory Sex Offender Registration Program (TTSORS), VALOR for Blue, and Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT).

I have also served as a sports official (referee) for 25 years.  I have worked leagues from Little League to D-I.  I Serve as a volunteer judge for the Leon County Teen Court program.

I am a certified Florida CJSTC Instructor and certified to teach NRA Pistol Safety & Basics of Pistol Shooting, Below 100, SABRE Aerosol Pepper Spray for LEOs, De-escalation Techniques, Officer Safety Basics, Anti-Ambush Tactics and Case Studies, Recognizing and Preventing Complacency.

I hold a Bachelor of Science degree from Florida State University in Management Information Systems.  I graduated from the Florida Public Safety Institute (Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy).