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 noncompliant—there are instances when simple tactics such as a calm voice can reduce the chance of a subject becoming out of control.

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. As such, law enforcement nationwide have been pressured to review their de-escalation police training. In fact, some states have gone as far as to create laws and mandates to ensure agencies take extended measure to improve de-escalation skills.

When responding to calls, there is always a risk that the person(s) become unruly. To prepare officers for these events, and to keep departments up-to-date with the latest police de-escalation tactics, VirTra partnered with VISTELAR to create de-escalation curriculum, which includes de-escalation scenarios for law enforcement personnel. A significant portion of this curriculum is centered around non-escalation, which is stopping a situation before it escalates out of control.

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.

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 the officer to do whatever in their power to protect themselves, the subject and the public.

Simulated De-Escalation Police Training

More Than Shoot-Don't-Shoot

Recently, agencies have updated their training to heavily focus on police de-escalation tactics and thus lower the frequency of force used by their officers. To help further this training, VirTra produced two different nationally-certified de-escalation curricula that is free for all law enforcement customers.

This training—De-Escalation and Crisis De-Escalation—has a total of 6 training hours which encompasses vigorous coursework, educational presentations and real-life training video de-escalation scenarios for law enforcement personnel. As nationally-certified materials, they fall under the V-VICTA® program along with other modern, skill-building critical curriculum.

De-Escalation Training Curriculum

Born from a partnership between VirTra and the conflict experts at VISTELAR, this 4-hour course breaks down interactions and allows officers to train on their simulator how to de-escalate situations before they become detrimental.

Crisis De-Escalation Curriculum

This 2-hour course is designed to help officers better identify crisis behaviors and use their VirTra simulator’s real-world scenarios to practice their skills. Like “De-Escalation” and other V-VICTA courses, Crisis De-Escalation provides ample time for training in lifelike scenarios.

Curriculum can be the difference between a good officer and a great officer. To ease the instructor’s workload while simultaneously providing the best training materials, VirTra’s de-escalation police training went through the effort of having our police De-Escalation tactics scenarios for law enforcement personnel and its curriculum nationally-certified through IADLEST. IADLEST’s National Certification Program sets the POST training standard for 36+ states and works to improve training nationwide.

By having this curriculum both POST approved and nationally-certified, departments automatically receive training hours when the curriculum is taught. Whether this curriculum is used to help veterans brush up on their skills or teach trainees the foundation, this V-VICTA curriculum effectively prepares de-escalation scenarios for law enforcement to use in potentially volatile situations.  

De-Escalation Police Training Curriuclum

See How Scenarios Work and Branch During De-Escalation Police Training

One of the many effective VirTra de-escalation scenarios for law enforcement personnel is featured below. How it works is simple: trainees begin by standing in or in front of the simulator. Once ready, the instructor will fire up the scenario, which begins with a dispatch call outlining the scenario. From there, the real De-Escalation training begins! The scenario opens up to a bridge with a father behaving erratically and threatening to throw his child over. It is up to the officer to de-escalate and gain control of the situation.

Depending on how well the officer is utilizing non-escalation and police de-escalation tactics, the instructor can choose for the scenario to branch. For example, having the subject follow the student officer’s commands, retrieve a weapon from his truck, surrender or shoot at the officers. Whatever your agency’s protocol is for situations like this, each scenario is built with dozens of branching options, allowing you to train the way your protocol requires.

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 police training and other V-VICTA curriculum, visit our website or contact a VirTra specialist.