De-Escalation Police Training

When it's Possible & How it Helps

When used properly, de-escalation can reduce police use of force. While not every situation permits de-escalation—as some subjects are strictly non-compliant—there are instances when simple tactics such as a calm voice and creating some distance can reduce the chance of a subject becoming out of control.

Law enforcement de-escalation training is a hot-button topic worldwide. There’s now a giant spotlight on how police handle unruly subjects, especially with tragic incidents captured on officer body-worn cameras and cell phones. Consequently, law enforcement nationwide has been pressured to review their de-escalation police training. Some states have gone as far as to create laws and mandates to ensure agencies take extended measures to improve de-escalation skills.

Granted, non-escalation tactics depend on the subject. In cases where these tactics fail, officers can utilize de-escalation tactics that do not require force. This includes: a non-aggressive tone of voice without screaming or harsh language, body posture that depicts openness to interaction rather than defensive posting, and more. A significant portion of this curriculum focuses on non-escalation, which stops a situation before it escalates.
It is important to reiterate that de-escalation is not always possible. In some cases, the subject(s) is too enraged or under the influence of an illicit substance, causing them to behave erratically and unpredictably. In these instances, it is natural for officers to do whatever they can to protect themselves, the subject, and the public.

Simulated De-Escalation Police Training

More Than Shoot-Don't-Shoot

To help agencies lower the frequency of force used by their officers, VirTra produced two different internationally certified de-escalation curriculums that are free for all law enforcement customers.

This training—De-Escalation and Crisis De-Escalation—encompasses a total of 6 training hours of vigorous coursework, educational presentations, and real-life training video de-escalation scenarios for law enforcement personnel. Each scenario is built with dozens of branching options, allowing you to train the way your agency’s protocol requires.


How it works is simple:

  1. Instructor starts the scenario
  2. Trainee listens to dispatch
  3. Trainee must de-escalate the scenario – such as a father behaving erratically and threatening to throw his child over a bridge
  4. Instructor chooses scenario branches based on trainee’s dialogue with a simulated character


Internationally Recognized Curriculum

The International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST)’s National Certification Program sets the POST training standard for 36+ states and works to improve training worldwide. IADLEST awarded VirTra’s de-escalation curriculum with a certification of excellence, so your organization can conduct V-VICTA with confidence. With these credentials, departments automatically receive training hours from teaching the V-VICTA materials.

The New Way to Practice De-Escalation

V-XR Extended Reality Headset

For years, VirTra simulators have helped student officers refine their use-of-force and decision-making skills. Now, we’ve built a new de-escalation training tool with the most seamless skill transfer available in extended reality – the V-XR Extended Reality headset.

V-XR comes with an outcome-oriented curriculum, where officers can prepare for encounters with irate individuals, those with a mental illness, persons in crisis, and more. Three distinct modes, “Educate, Experience, Engage” provide a rigorous training with or without an instructor.

Empathy and communication are core to successful de-escalation, but CGI video-game style characters fail to provide trainees with a genuine-feeling encounter. To overcome this, V-XR uses volumetrically captured 3d characters with realistic body language, facial expressions, and dialogue to foster empathetic interactions.

And to lower the barriers of entry for de-escalation training, V-XR excels in almost any environment, indoors or outdoors, with room sizes from 6.5 ft x 6.5 ft up to 25ft x 25ft.

Everything from unruly bystanders to emotionally disturbed persons – VirTra aims to cover as much territory as possible to prepare law enforcement men and women for the unpredictable situations that may happen in the field.


To learn more about De-Escalation training for police officers and other V-VICTA curriculum, contact a VirTra specialist.