WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. – A research project shows that law-enforcement officers working for agencies with de-escalation policies are far more likely to killed or injured in the line of duty, reported channel3000.com.
According to the report, the study looked at metropolitan law enforcement agencies around the country; some with de-escalation policies while others are without. As a result, data was gathered from more than 75,000 officers over a five-year period.
De-escalation policies require officers to slow things down and attempt to lessen or avoid force on all calls.
“The agencies without de-escalation policies, the number of officers killed and assaulted were dramatically lower than the agencies with de-escalation policies in place,” said Brian Landers, author of the study.
Landers is a former police officer and current chair of the criminal justice department of Madison College. The research was done for his master’s thesis.
“I’ve had officers tell me that they are forced with decisions out on the street that goes against every facet of training and instinct of officer safety from fear they are going to be disciplined because the policy is telling them that they should not use force,” said Landers.
He says de-escalation is a valuable tool for cops, but believes it can’t be the first response for all calls.
“They are dealing with people that are high on heroin and fentanyl. They are dealing with a wide variety of other types of mental illness and alcoholism where people are raging, violent and uncontrollable.”
Previous research from the Police Executives Research Forum made the case that de-escalation improved officer safety.
Yet Landers’ research points in the opposite direction.
“Overall an officer working in a de-escalation agency, by my study, was twice as likely to be killed in the line of duty and 10 times more likely to be injured in the line of duty.”
“Hopefully my research is going to be a call for policymakers to strongly look at any type of policy that they have and make sure that their policies are not threatening their own officers.”
Moreover, what was left unsaid is that most street cops will tell you to a person, a passive approach toward a violent encounter simply emboldens the offender. As a result, passivity is not the friend of police officers facing aggressive rage.