There are lots of attention on de-escalation training for police over the last several years. Like any agency in the US, the Tempe Police Department likewise wants to reap its benefits but made it clear that they want their de-escalation training to be tailor-fit to their agencies’, officers’, and community’s needs. With this in mind, they requested the help of Arizona State University (ASU) to develop an effective training curriculum that addresses their specific concerns and ensures positive outcomes.
To walk us through the whole development and implementation of the Tempe De-Escalation Project are:
- Michael D. White, Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at ASU and Associate Director of ASU’s Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety
- Dane Sorensen, Commander of the Tempe Police Department
- Carlena Orosco, Research and Planning Supervisor in the Strategic Planning, Analysis & Research Center (SPARC) at Tempe Police Department
Specifics of the webinar are about:
- The Tempe De-Escalation Project: Its funding source and the three main components of the initiative.
- The Design Component
- Tempe’s decision and process to build their own de-escalation training curriculum.
- Looking into existing de-escalation curricula from other agencies and fields to examine the portions that they can utilize and lessons they can glean from these.
- Identifying the agency’s top de-escalators to understand the skills and characteristics that make them effective in de-escalating.
- Surveying all officers to gain insights on their perceptions about de-escalation training and their existing de-escalation tactics.
- The Deliver Aspect
- Coming up with a de-escalation definition that also generates buy-in from the officers.
- Developing the training framework by looking into the components that they want to be integrated into the de-escalation training.
- The three pillars condensed in the final framework that served as the basis of training delivery.
- The PATROL model in which the operation pillar is grounded on that ensures officers have the skills, planning, and resources to maintain safety for themselves, the subject, and the community during a police encounter.
- Running the pilot training, identifying areas for improvement, and employing the help of the ASU experts to tweak the curriculum and training delivery to make it efficient.
- The Evaluate Phase
- How the ASU was able to evaluate the effectiveness of the training program by conducting a Random Control Trial among the officers.
- Comparing the outcomes between the control group and the trained group through the officer perception survey, citizen perception survey, and body-worn camera footage reviews.
- The specific areas where significant findings have been observed between the two groups that demonstrate the success of the training program.
- How the de-escalation training project was taught to Tempe’s dispatch and detention units and the likewise positive outcomes for dispatchers and detention officers.
- The key factors to pay attention to that ensure the success and effective application of your agency’s de-escalation training.
Questions from the webinar audience were about:
- The value of de-escalation training for animal control officers.
- Tempe hosting other agencies for de-escalation training.
- De-escalation standards for juveniles.
- Other related training that the officers had before the Tempe De-Escalation Project.
- Changes and contributions from the ASU experts to enhance the curriculum and training delivery.
- Involvement of and input from behavioral health professionals in the curriculum and training design.
- Developments in de-escalation strategies for the future.
Resources and Handouts
- Handout: Moving the Needle – Can Training Alter Officer Perceptions and Use of De-Escalation?
- Handout: Exploring Variation in Police Perceptions of De-Escalation. Do Officer Characteristics Matter?
- Handout: Testing the Impact of De-Escalation training on Officer Behavior – The Tempe Smart Policing Initiative
- “We are all struggling with the new expectations from the community. A softer approach with empathy and kindness without forgetting about officer safety.” — Al
- De-escalation techniques and protocols must be thought-provoking, flexible, and unique to address varying situations. They must also be taught, reinforced, and supported from the top of an organization to the bottom.. — Lafayette
- “Many excellent points.” — Robert
- “Learned new tactics that I can implement in my own work with teens and youth with trauma.” — Lexi
- “How everyone plays a part in changing the tone of the matter; also, how the police department is doing its part in trying to control the matter before it gets out of hand.” — Michele
- “EXCELLENT presentation and program. The Tempe PD did their homework on this project and they brought in the proper academic support to make it work. It would be to the advantage of every community and the entire Law Enforcement industry to incorporate these P.A.T.R.O.L. strategies of best practices across the board.” — Roseann
- “I liked the acronym PATROL and how it can be used on a daily basis – not just in the job but in our personal lives too. The more it is used the more automatic it becomes.” — Cindy
The American Society of Evidence–Based Policing is a non-profit organization started by working police officers designed to drive the national conversation towards ensuring that the least harmful, most effective, fairest, and safest strategies are employed to prevent crime, reduce harm, and improve community wellness.