De-escalation (Use of Force)

De-escalation (Use of Force)

These resources present studies of use of force and de-escalation training, synthesized into guidance for agencies to conduct their own evaluations for continual improvements to policies and practice.

This comprehensive reference provides an overview of de-escalation including its theoretical foundations. It then offers a number of supplementary sections including examples of real-life evaluations and worksheets to help agencies evaluate their own de-escalation practices.

De-escalation reference

Evaluation of De-escalation Training

The IACP/UC Research Center evaluated de-escalation training using versions of the Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT) training program within the University of Cincinnati, OH Police Department (UCPD) and the Louisville Metro, KY Police Department (LMPD).

First, the evaluation within the UCPD served as a pilot study, which tested survey instruments with a medium-sized police department. The study was aimed at assessing the influence of ICAT training on officer attitudes, perceptions, and confidence. The findings of this evaluation demonstrate that the ICAT course increased UCPD’s officers’ reported confidence in and attitudes toward de-escalation skills. However, these changes were small, and decayed over time (with the exception of de-escalation specific to persons in crisis). Nonetheless, the results of this evaluation indicate potential for the ICAT program to improve officers’ attitudes and perceptions. In turn, improved attitudes toward de-escalation techniques are thought to make officers more amenable to practicing these techniques designed to save lives and reduce injuries to both community members and police officers, alike.

Read the full report of the pilot evaluation at UCPD.

Second, the evaluation in partnership with the LMPD presented a robust multi-method study, including a randomized control trial component, which examined the impacts of ICAT training on officer attitudes, first-line supervisor functions and attitudes, and officer behavior including uses of force, citizen injury, and officer injury. Most importantly, this research is the first known study to demonstrate significant changes in officer behavior as a direct result of de-escalation training. Specifically, this study demonstrated reductions in uses of force, citizen injuries, and officer injuries that were directly attributed to de-escalation training. 

Read the full report of the initial findings of the multi-method study at LMPD.

A supplementary evaluation was conducted within the LMPD several months after the initial evaluation to further examine officers' and supervisors' attitudes, perceptions, and self-reported use of skills in the field. This evaluation used a repeated measure survey design to assess officers’ knowledge and attitudes; a cross-sectional survey design to identify first-line supervisors’ perceptions and self-reported activities; and a stepped-wedge randomized control trial to coordinate the LMPD’s training schedule and assess behavioral outcomes. The evaluation identified factors associated with receptivity to ICAT training, use of ICAT skills in the field, attitudes toward persons in crisis, and attitudes toward use of force.

Read the full report of the supplementary findings of the multi-method study at LMPD.

 

A Multi-Method Investigation of Officer Decision-Making and Force Used or Avoided in Arrest Situations

The IACP/UC Research Center partnered with researchers from the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) to examine officer decision-making and use of force in arrest situations. This work was completed in collaboration with the Tulsa, OK Police Department (TPD) and the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD).

The goal of this work was to provide a better understanding of how and why police officers use force or desist in their use of force in encounters involving arrest. Relevant information on officers, citizens, incidents, and neighborhood context will be used to assess how and why some arrests turn violent when most do not.

This research aims to identify policies and practices for law enforcement agencies that may reduce the need for police use of force, lower the rate of injuries or deaths to citizens in police encounters, and reduce the likelihood of officer injury in their interactions with the public.

Read the full report detailing analysis of administrative data from the Tulsa, OK Police Department or a summary of the report.

Read the full report detailing analysis of narrative reports from the Tulsa, OK Police Department and the Cincinnati, OH Police Department or a summary of the report.

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