Use of Force For De Escalation
Use of Force as a tool of de-escalation is defined as using the appropriate amount of force required to subdue an actively aggressive subject. There are several indicators as to what level of force would be appropriate based on the situation and the ability and capability of the agent/operative. in the Force Continuum there are five different types of force an agent/operative may use to control and de-escalate a situation. Officer Presence, Verbal De Escalation, Soft Skills, Hard Skills which include non-lethal Weapons systems, and Deadly Force. For example, a subject who is actively aggressive (Non-Compliant) may be exhibiting several indicators force is needed to control and maintain the situation before verbal de-escalation is appropriate. These Indicators are based off of initial observation of the subject, body language, word choice, emotional indicators, and physiological indicators) as well as the type of threat the subject my pose (unarmed, armed, immediacy and imminence)
When arriving on the scene of a situation it is imperative an agent clears the vicinity to avoid possible contamination by bystanders (civilians). This is simply down with Officer Presence as well as giving Verbal Command to stay back. This may also relieve initial stress and prevent further agitation of the subject by mitigating the disruptions and distractions the subject may be experiencing due to environmental stress. Environmental stress is defined as any cue or indicator that may escalate or cause a subject to act non-compliant or actively aggressive towards the environment, bystanders, and the officers/agents/operatives on scene. It is important to observe how the subject responds to the initial arrival and presence of the officer and to continually re-assess the subject’s behavioral baseline as the situation unfolds.
Body Language is crucial in understanding and recognizing potential threat indicators the subject may be exhibiting due to their own stressors or perceived crisis. When observing Body language it is important to cluster these behavioral indicators into groups of three if time permits. Time being defined as the duration in which a subject is not exhibiting behaviors such as Threats, Intimidations, Manipulations, or Escalations. We also want to notice the verbal cues a subject may be exhibiting. Verbal cues are defined as tone (how a subject audibly says something), diction (the subject’s choice of words), rate (how fast, or slow a subject engages with you, this also includes response time), and volume (how loud or muted a person may engage with you.) These are all factors that an officer/agent/operative must consider in order to deploy the most effective and appropriate form of de-escalation.
A subject that is experiencing high levels of stress or in a perceived crisis may not have the emotional literacy to appropriately communicate their situation effectively, which may cause them to become more agitated and look for other means of expression through actions. It is important the officer/agent/operative posses the emotional literacy and emotional maturity to observe and recognize struggles as well as communicate effectively in order to give re-assurance through emotional labeling.
When dealing with an agitated and/or emotionally compromised subject it is important to notice the physiological indicators that are present as the situation unfolds and continue to re-assess how the individual responds to your tactics to control, contain, and de-escalate the situation. Through behavioral indicators and emotional cues, we as the officer/agent/operative may be able to recognize specific pre-incident indicators to stress and or violence.
Use of Force can be used as a tool for de-escalation if it is appropriate and relevant to meeting the overall objective of containment, control, and safety between all parties involved and/or witnessing the situation.
Be Kind But Deadly,
Eclipse Protection Inc.