After a particularly long and humid bike ride, I heard a radio show discussing LE tactics. I was intrigued because none of the people speaking were LEOs or had any LE experience. I know, compelling stuff. However, I thought I would listen for a bit.
During the portion of the show that I heard, the word “de-escalation” or variations thereof, was tossed about like blue cheese crumbles on a salad: the word added nothing and only served to distract from the essence of the discussion. My apologies to the blue cheese lovers reading this and you can have all of mine. Such is often the case when people outside LE decide they know how to “fix” a “problem” with LEOs.
Pick your topic and you will see the trend. Whether it is LEOs chasing people who run into innocent civilians, LEOs carrying firearms off-duty into sports arenas, or LEOs documenting their daily activities, there is a seemingly endless parade of uninformed pundits willing to lend their assistance and advice which are, more often than not, worth a metric ton of pyrite. The problem is amplified with the topic of de-escalation as the discussion may lead to the prosecution of LEOs who were in reality faced with situations devoid of de-escalation options.
Here’s the truth and for the non-LEOs listening, please pay close attention: de-escalation is not a buzz word, a novel idea someone in an advocacy group developed, or an idea that is foreign to LEOs. De-escalation is ever present on the mind of every LEO that faces a potential threat to herself or a private citizen. The problem is this: de-escalation as a one way process is ineffective. LEOs can talk calmly, keep their distance, and attempt to reason all they want until they have no more breath left to give, but if the person bent upon committing an assault or a forcible felony does not cooperate, there will be no de-escalation.
It’s a simple concept, really. The so-called and self-labelled “experts” don’t tell you what they really believe: that LEOs do not de-escalate because they desire to use force because they know they can get away with it. I’ve heard their true beliefs on more than one occasion. It is a disgusting belief that is out of touch with reality.
But what do I know about that. I just respond to the scene of officer-involved shootings and see the tears in their eyes and hear the prayers coming from their mouths after they were forced to take a life. Stay safe.