Summary List Placement
Baltimore Police Department’s Lieutenant Scott Swenson starts off the training session with a video of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Swenson pauses the video at the moment Officer Derek Chauvin presses his knee on George Floyd’s neck.
“8 minutes, 46 seconds. Time to intervene there?” Swenson asks the class.
“Yes,” the new trainees respond in unison. One soon-to-be officer says he would grab Chauvin and “take him off.”
“You sure?” Swenson asks the class, turning to face the group. He reminds the students that the officers accompanying Chauvin had only been on the force for four days, like they themselves would be soon.
“It’s easy to sit here in this room and say you’ll intervene, but will you?” he said. “Make your mind up.”
This is the beginning of Baltimore Police Department sixteen hour de-escalation course — one of several police departments across the nation implementing de-escalation training.
Back in June, Business Insider Today visited the department to see what the training looks like. And while it’s not clear whether de-escalation training is effective, it very well may be one step forward for police departments to regain the trust of their skeptical communities.
“Kill me! Kill me!”
In the first de-escalation scenario, officers are dispatched to a makeshift home where they have limited information about the unfolding scene. One of the role players acts as the suspect’s family member.
“So my cousin’s in there. He’s got the knife, he’s off his meds. He’s in there by himself right now,” the role player says.
The officers-to-be make their way to the door.
“Officer Coleman, BPD,” the trainee yells from behind the door. “This is not worth it. There’s always other options, sir.”
Novice officers go through a rigorous course in Baltimore where they must stop a suspect without applying heavy-handed force. Officers are paired with a partner and enter a room where someone is holding a knife.
During the first scenario, Officer Savannah Porter chooses to protect herself and her partner by deploying a taser instead of finding less lethal options, like closing the door.
“Getting tunnel vision is probably the hardest part. It’s realizing that there is an entire world happening outside of what’s going on,” Porter said.
The training program was created by the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit for policing that trains departments in de-escalation techniques. New officers are taught to create distance between themselves and a suspect. It also encourages them to find cover to protect themselves, instead of reaching for their weapons.
The second and third scenarios are called “Fluid Knife” and “Static Knife.” Trainees enter a room backwards and are told to turn around to begin the scene. In the “Static Knife” scenario, role player and BPD detective Tony Cabezas walks determinedly toward novice officer Savannah Porter.
“Kill me, kill me!” Cabezas yells.
“Put the knife down!” Savannah shouts back. After realizing the approaching suspect will not drop his knife, Savannah deploys her replica stun gun — “Taser, taser, taser!” she shouts. (New officers don’t carry real weapons during training.)
“Not every situation can be de-escalated. When …read more
Source:: Business Insider