There are numerous ways for police officers to change the course of an interaction with the public. For example, officers could intervene in a verbal dispute and prevent it from erupting in to physical violence by calming down or separating people who were arguing.
Unfortunately, officers can and sometimes do escalate a situation instead of calming it down. Officers might become aggressive with someone because they don’t get the level of respect they want out of the encounter. They might become physical even though the individual didn’t get physical first. In some cases, they might even make decisions that result in injury or death to an innocent person.
What training is mandatory for those who work in law enforcement in Colorado?
Peace officers do need continued education, but they have choices. Every five years, those who work as peace officers in Colorado have an obligation to complete 24 hours of continuing education. Half of that time must go toward perishable skills, which include driving, arrest control and firearms.
The rest of the hours get split among other topics. De-escalation is one of the many categories of continuing education opportunities that can apply toward this requirement. There have recently been increased efforts for transparency regarding police behavior and calls for better training about internal bias and de-escalation to protect the public in Colorado — especially after details about the tragic death of Elijah McClain went viral and drew national attention.
Those who were victims of police brutality or who experienced unnecessary force in a situation where de-escalation procedures would have been appropriate might want to discuss their situation and potential legal rights with a lawyer.