Fundamentals of Realistic De-Escalation

1-Day Course | Hosting Options Available

Course Description

Members of the law enforcement profession have come under intense pressure in recent years to prioritize efforts at employing de-escalation techniques in force encounters. Fundamentals of Realistic De-Escalation is a one-day course describing the often-challenging expectations placed on law enforcement officers that they gain compliance without using physical force. Oftentimes, not using physical force at all may not be realistic or safe. The legitimate goal of de-escalation tactics is to resolve problems with minimal use of force.

This course presents concepts and methods to support de-escalation efforts when personal connections can be made. Participants will be provided with knowledge to apply in real-world situations. This includes learning ways to address the needs of people in a state of a mental health crisis, or those whose perception of reality is altered. Worst-case scenarios in these types of situations can end with harm to the officer, bystanders or the subject, and scenarios such as suicide by cop further complicate the picture for responding officers.

Concepts include dealing with scenarios where subjects are suffering from states of mind such as excited delirium syndrome, which may change their levels of responsiveness to different types of tactics. Officers must protect their own safety, that of the public and of the arrestee to avoid further threats to civilians, arrest-related deaths and other worst-case scenarios.

Law enforcement officers who attend this course are taught to manage difficult calls for service by enhancing the skills that let them establish contact, build rapport and gain influence to achieve objectives in encounters. These abilities include incident stabilization tactics, decision-making and both verbal and nonverbal communication skills. Even when subjects present difficulties, officers will be able to make connections.

In most situations calling for de-escalation, officers must first ensure the situation is stabilized and under control before beginning their verbal de-escalation tactics. This calls for accurate risk assessments, effective use of tactics and maneuvering strategies, scene containment and deployment of the appropriate resources. Once the scene is stable, officers gain discretionary time in which they can attempt effective de-escalation tactics. Applying proper officer and public safety tactics is therefore foundational to the effective application of de-escalation.

This course is offered by the Force Science Institute, which means it includes concepts from the institute’s cutting-edge and ongoing research, such as the 7 Ts. These factors – Time, Threat, Travel, Thoughts, Tactics, Talk and Training, help officers understand the conditions necessary to de-escalate a situation or to create those conditions where possible. Officers who have received training in the psychological and physiological factors at work have more information to base their threat assessments on, helping them stay safer in the field.

IADLEST National Certification Program™


Training Hours
8 Hours

1 Expert Instructor


Course Goal

This program is meant for first-response professionals and is designed to give them the necessary skills to accurately assess individual actions during potentially violent confrontations and, when feasible, defuse them with easy-to-grasp tactics that will avoid use-of-force crises. The course uses science to help law enforcement officers enhance their de-escalation efforts. The scientific principles are meant for application in officer training and in the field.

People who complete this course will be able to apply an understanding of human factors and performance research to challenging situations with individuals in the midst of a crisis. Comprehending the most effective resolutions to such encounters is beneficial for all parties, and equipping officers with as much knowledge as possible about these scenarios is a way to promote the safety of everyone involved.

Course Objectives

Students who successfully complete the one-day training will be able to:

  • Articulate what "de-escalation" actually means, what its objectives are and in what situations they can and cannot consider it.
  • Discuss the tactical principles of de-escalation, risk assessment and decision-making.
  • Quickly evaluate an interaction to determine whether de-escalation is reasonable to consider, tactically practical and likely to be successful.
  • Apply concepts from the Force Science approach, such as the "Response-ability Zone" and the "7 Ts De-Escalation Evaluation Model" to evaluate tactics that are needed or likely to be successful in supporting a de-escalation process.
  • Make better connections, establish rapport and use effective principles of persuasion when dealing with difficult subjects, including those who are mentally ill, through the application of the "Behavior Influence Stairway Model."
  • Enhance de-escalation efforts by strategically combining human performance research findings, observations of subject behavior and psychological tactics for negotiation and influence.
  • Apply the "Thought/Emotion Behavior" (TEB) Matrix to quickly recognize whether a subject is in "conflict," "crisis" or has "contaminated" thinking, and therefore which strategies of persuasion are most likely to be effective.
  • Better ensure that officers' approach and control strategies maximize their response options while minimizing the potential for unnecessary emotional or physical escalation.
  • Balance the desirability of trying to resolve a conflict peacefully with the need to maintain officer and public safety.
  • Recognize and list common barriers to effective communication that officers often use unintentionally, promoting better practices such as active listening.
  • Discuss how professional de-escalation techniques embrace the concepts of "fair and impartial" and "rightful policing" principles.
  • Assist investigators and other personnel reviewing uses of force to recognize the pivotal behavioral and situational factors that must go into an assessment of whether de-escalation efforts might have been feasible or potentially effective.
  • Help community members and media outlets better understand what realistic de-escalation entails and the challenges that subjects may present that can inhibit, if not prohibit, an officer's ability to safely de-escalate.

CLEE or POST Approval

Principles of Realistic De-Escalation has been certified for eight hours of Continued Law Enforcement Education (CLEE) credits through the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST) for their National Certification Program (NCP) review for POST accreditation.

IADLEST NCP accreditation is currently accepted in 35 states. The presence of NCP endorsement on a course demonstrates that the materials have been approved by an approval body specifically aiming to raise the quality standards of ongoing law enforcement officer training throughout the country. Therefore, departmental leaders can be confident in arranging such classes for their officers.

Hosting This Course

Law enforcement departments interested in agency-wide training can host this program for their officers. Click the button below and fill out some basic information to get started. Our training coordinator will contact you within a few business days to review class options, pricing and hosting requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there tests associated with this course?

At the beginning of the Principles of Realistic De-Escalation course, students take a pre-test. This can be completed online and finished prior to the start of the course. At the end of the one-day session, there is a final examination.

Do participants complete homework?

There is no take-home work assigned as part of the course. Students are encouraged to communicate with their fellow participants to discuss the class and review what they have learned.

Is there interactive class participation?

Participants in the Fundamentals of Realistic De-Escalation course do participate in mandatory group exercises and scenarios. There are discussions in the classroom sessions, and all students are encouraged to participate and ask questions. This full level of engagement will help ensure participants know all they need to before taking the final exam.


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