June 30, 2015

De-escalation: It’s Nothing New to Police

You’ve got to admire the leftist gymnastics ideologues perform to arrive at a false determination such as, “the police are broken,” and then manufacture “problems” to be “fixed.” Many times these “problems” are simply tactics, training or policies with which the left disagree. One such “problem” currently trending is the concept of de-escalation. Cop critics and crisis entrepreneurs are now pedaling the idea that cops have been automatically resorting to force rather than de-escalation to resolve potentially violent confrontations. They argue that cops should be trained to use de-escalation first before resorting to force. Sorry to disappoint the cop haters, but cops are already trained to use de-escalation techniques—first—whenever reasonable.

How ludicrous is this issue? As a retired cop who worked a sector with numerous mental health facilities let me assure you that de-escalation is nothing new to cops. De-escalation has always been and will always be a cop’s first instinct, although it’s not always possible. For example, it’s rather difficult to verbally de-escalate a person charging at you with a knife. Instructors taught de-escalation in the academy when I was there twenty-three years ago, and it was taught long before that. De-escalation is also just plain common sense, the natural inclination for intelligent people who prefer the path of least resistance—in this case, literally.

Cop critics are fabricating a false dichotomy (imagine that) where cops are seen as having a choice between de-escalation and using force and are choosing force over de-escalation, as if force is preferred or that force and de-escalation are mutually exclusive.

De-escalation and force are both legitimate law enforcement tactics, and each has its place in the use-of-force continuum, which progresses from officer presence at one end to lethal force at the other. When cop haters apply the false dichotomy mentioned above to police officers, they express their ignorance and fantasy view of cops as knuckle-dragging caricatures who are out to brutalize the people they serve. Now, you tell me: which group, the cops or the cop haters, has a problem that needs to be fixed?

Well, this is timely: As I am writing this blog, I am distracted by a story on KING 5 Morning News regarding Seattle police officers (including an instructor) who were video recorded during a training session discussing DOJ-influenced “de-escalation” policy changes. In Seattle’s Orwellian fashion, it seems Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole is now busy determining whether or not the officers involved in the discussion (including an instructor) should be officially investigated. Investigated?

Investigated for what, you ask? Investigated for expressing the “wrong” opinions and using pertinent, though perhaps exaggerated for effect, anecdotes to elaborate on their points. Seems that any attempt to express a view contrary to the official party line will not be tolerated by this regime. After all, is it possible a police officer who actually works the streets might have something valuable to add to the “training” discussion? As for the instructor, he simply commented for attendees not to “shoot the messenger” and that the training was coming from the DOJ. I would wonder why he’s even tacitly cooperating rather than working the streets. Although the conventional wisdom held by cops is it’s harder to get into trouble if you work anywhere but in patrol. Harder, yes but, as we see in this instructor’s case, not impossible. Vigorous debate and discussion is anathema in Seattle. The leftist’s views are legitimate, and anyone who disagrees is engaging in hate speech or guilty of some “-ism.”

How can any training be effective when officers are threatened by their superiors with official investigation, which can lead to discipline, just for asking the “wrong” questions or offering legitimate, albeit contrary, points? Then again, we should not forget that we’re not talking about legitimate law enforcement training. This is pure, leftist, political indoctrination, in furtherance of a de-facto federalization of Seattle’s police department. It’s only disguised as law enforcement training.    


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