1. Crisis Ridden Times for Police Officers and Citizens


The Problem:

Since the Ferguson Police Killings in October, 2014, a forty year policy of an almost exclusive reliance on the use of aggressive force when confronting threats of violence has been called into question. Pre Ferguson, police training had been biased towards the use of force to settle such crisis situations. Over reliance on the primary use of force – often lethal – has resulted in a growing distrust of police officers typically expressed in wide spread public protests and a lack of cooperation.


Public outcry has resulted in making significant changes in police training shifting from a policy mind-set of kill or be killed to a policy of proportionate use of deadly force emphasizing violence reduction (de-escalation) in confronting crisis situations

De-escalation emphasizes persuasion rather than brute force as the primary agent of crisis intervention aiming to reduce the tension associated with threats of violence.

De-escalation training has mainly been implemented in courses called CPI (Crisis Prevention Training) and CIT (Crisis Intervention Teams). The major focus of both CPI and CIT is to train police officers how to effectively utilize verbal skills in defusing tension: “de-escalation is the art of defusing a tense situation with a word.” A retired sheriff said: “If we just started to treat people with dignity and respect, things would go much better.” Common sense suggests there would likely be universal support for this reasonable policy change, however the facts suggest otherwise.

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