Posted on Sep. 3, 2020 by Christopher Dorch

Unfortunately, interactions between officers and the public are not always the simple, straight-forward situations that would make life in the field easier.

This is because we are humans, filled with a variety of emotions. On any given day, a law enforcement officer could interact with a grieving individual who recently lost a family member, an agitated father who was fired from a job or a young activist who strongly opposes the police. The list goes on. Whatever the situation is, conflict can arise at any time in an officer’s career.

VirTra Partners with Vistelar

To prepare officers for moments like these, VirTra partnered with Vistelar to create nationally-certified de-escalation curriculum. VirTra and Vistelar scripted out a list of scenarios equipped with an extensive amount of branching options to allow it to end in de-escalation. VirTra is maximizing de-escalation training by adding V-VICTA De-Escalation curriculum along with the training simulations to practice what you learn in the classroom before you go through real-life scenarios.

De-Escalation Training Curriculum

This curriculum is designed to teach officers how to work through conflicts verbally while recognizing and learning from facial, body and micro-expressions. This recently NCP-certified curriculum includes:

• 4 hours of curriculum
• 5 information-rich chapters
• 6 scenarios with extensive branching options
• A 38-page lesson plan
• A 35-slide presentation

VirTra’s De-Escalation program is the ONLY nationally-certified third-party de-escalation program by a simulation company.

Why De-Escalation Training?

As mentioned above, not every situation is created equal. As such, there are certain situations an officer will not be able to resolve through de-escalation.

However, if the situation allows, a law enforcement officer can utilize their de-escalation simulation training to reduce the chances of force being used. The type of de-escalation will depend on the situation—one instance may require giving the individual more space or time, while other situations are better resolved with a softer approach or reducing surrounding stimuli. When incorporated correctly, de-escalation tactics may prevent escalation while potentially reducing harm.

Learning Objectives

Officers have had the term “de-escalation” drilled into their minds by academies, department training and now the media. However, law enforcement know that de-escalation is not easily defined nor is it as simple as it is made out to be. Instead, VirTra covers all aspects of de-escalation through a detailed lesson plan, pre-test, post-test, scoring rubric and a multitude of law enforcement training scenarios that combine simulated learning with Vistelar’s conflict management tactics.

A sample of the concepts covered in VirTra’s curriculum include:
• Being alert and decisive
• Responding, not reacting
• Non-escalation
• Treating with dignity by showing respect

De-Escalation Training Scenarios

By integrating extensive branching options into each law enforcement training simulator, the event unfolds based on the training objectives and the decisions made by the trainee. This ability allows an officer to use communication skills and practice while under stress, which can then be trained and tested repeatedly and consistently.

For example, one of VirTra’s scenarios— “Bridge Baby”—is a student officer on patrol, when they are flagged down by a hysterical mother explaining her husband took their baby and is threatening to hurt the child.

This scenario forces the training officer to confront the father and try to de-escalate the situation. 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. This scenario also requires the trainee officer to confront and de-escalate a fellow officer who appears on the scene, causing the man on the bridge to become more agitated.

Through VirTra’s de-escalation curriculum and scenarios, officers learn how to interpret a situation, keep their head on a swivel, properly interact with subjects, call for CIT or proper back up, and de-escalate a situation in a safe, controlled environment. Learn more about VirTra’s nationally-certified de-escalation curriculum by contacting a VirTra specialist.

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