It seems that, all too often, police officers rush to take aggressive action to resolve a situation. They see everything as a conflict. They may even escalate tensions as they try to get people to comply.
This is the wrong approach, some experts claim, saying that officers should focus instead on de-escalation. They should try to defuse a dangerous and potentially violent situation. They should see what they can do to make it less likely that they need to use force.
One example happened in Baltimore when a policeman told other officers to stay back from a man with a knife who was actively trying to get the police to shoot him. He was making threats. The police may have been able to use deadly force and show that it was justified.
Instead of doing so, the lone officer just talked to the man. He told him his name. He talked about what they had in common. He told the man that he had no desire to shoot him. He talked about his kids.
What happened? In the end, the man put the knife down and the whole thing ended without the loss of life.
Experts argue that this shows why police officers need official training in de-escalation tactics — which that officer had. When they don’t know how to calm someone down or seek a non-violent solution, is it any surprise that they so often resort to deadly force, even when it is not justified?
The problem is that officers do not always have the right training and the right tools to prevent unnecessary violence. If you get injured or if a loved one dies as a result, make sure you know what legal options you have.