De-escalation training is meant to diffuse or slow down escalating tensions during police encounters that often lead to excessive force or deadly force actions. Police departments are undergoing changes to address police behavior through de-escalation training in Maryland toward the reduction of excessive force injury and death claims. Officers can use the strategic slowing down of an incident to give them more time, distance, space and tactical flexibility during dynamic situations on the street. This is a valuable tool for both officers and alleged law breakers to keep an encounter from becoming violent and out of control. Sometimes if an encounter involves drugs or alcohol and a person is not coherent enough to respond to this type of training, an officer will have to find another means to subdue that person without incident.
De-escalation training is mandatory in Maryland.
The State of Maryland requires de-escalation training for their police officers, but no minimum hours are set, and individual departments are accountable to the Police Training Commission for verification that these trainings occur. Actions involved in de-escalating a police encounter include:
- 1) Listen respectfully. Don’t argue or interrupt. People calm down when they feel they are being listened to and taken seriously.
- 2) Crowd control. Don’t allow an audience to gather. If two people are having an argument, isolate them from friends or family members to reduce aggressive behavior.
- 3) Courteous example. Use courteous, professional language to uphold the idea that talk must be calm and respectful.
- 4) Body language. Be aware not to use intimidating body movements.
- 5) Control encounter. Reduce offensive speech, cursing, and yelling by explaining that acceptable language would more likely get the point across.
- 6) Don’t publicly humiliate anyone—especially when others are watching. Be respectful of embarrassing questions and pat downs.
- 7) Don’t waste time and energy trying to convince a citizen that he’s wrong and you’re right. Do what you need to do without becoming defensive.
- 8) Remember that “broken record” is a useful way to achieve two goals—conveying the message that you’re in charge while keeping the lid on a potential conflict. “Broken record” means repeating a message as many times as needed.
Officers must find alternatives to the use of excessive force, which is utilizing more physical force than necessary to subdue a criminal causing bodily harm or death. They must also be able to assess situations to limit danger to themselves and others in heated encounters.
Call an attorney.
If you or someone you love has experienced excessive force or any form of police brutality from a Glen Burnie Police officer, seek legal counsel at the Law Offices of Murnane & O’Neill to review your case to see if you can sue for damages. Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future permanent disability payments; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to a death or serious injury caused by police brutality through excessive force.
Murnane & O’Neill
7425 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd.
Glen Burnie, MD 21061