Law enforcement is a difficult job. Peace officers go to work knowing their time will be filled with mitigating harm, preventing crime and interacting with people with the best—and the worst—intentions.
So how are officers prepared for these situations? In academies, trainees are taught how to handle lethal and less lethal weapons, and just as important, communication strategies that include de-escalation. After all, the best outcome for any situation is for the situation to be de-escalated before something difficult or tragic happens, should the subject be willing to comply.
VirTra is helping police training academies and agencies alike to practice their officer’s de-escalation skills with the judgmental use of force simulator. Each simulator is equipped with a wide range of real-life scenarios, each with an average of 85 branching options for in-depth, realistic de-escalation and use of force training.
For example, consider the scenario “Bridge Baby.” The premise is a student officer is on patrol and flagged down by a hysterical mother who says her husband took their baby and is threatening to harm the child.
This scenario forces the training officer to confront the father and the officer can verbally de-escalate the scenario. Depending on how the officer interacts with the subject on-screen, instructors can choose to have the subject provide more information, show extreme agitation or calmly cooperate.
There is power behind having de-escalation scenarios with dozens of realistic branching options. Trainees learn how to interpret a situation, talk with subjects, they respond back and de-escalate a situation in a safe, controlled environment.
Safer for Officers and the Community
De-escalated event is the safest option for law enforcement officers in the field and subjects who comply. Officers need to receive de-escalation training in the academy and should hone this skill often within the agency keep the tactics fresh in mind and can easily utilize them in the field.
For peace officers, the safety lies in knowing they can have influence over the situation and that the subject will may not lash out, run away or escalate the situation.
For subjects, complying with officers and allowing the situation to de-escalate increases their personal safety, as an officer will not have to resort to using Axon® TASER®, pepper spray or other force options.
Providing additional de-escalation training can save cities millions of dollars. Think about how much of your hard-earned tax revenue is spent on defending officers in court or settling lawsuits in regards to police accusation or wrongdoings. Litigation, settlement and insurance fees quickly add up.
One of the easiest ways to decrease this cost is to supply officers with proper, thorough training. Officers who are better trained to react appropriately to the situation—such as knowing the best de-escalation tactics—are far less likely to be involved in a lawsuit due to alleged wrongdoing.
Utilizing a judgmental use of force and de-escalation simulator makes these cost reductions possible. Keep trainees and seasoned officers up-to-date on de-escalation techniques and practice with VirTra. Learn how your department and city can benefit from these simulators by contacting a VirTra specialist.