Once again, De-escalation training is needed for civilians, not for cops.

De-escalation training is not for people in mental crisis, and unless a suspect is willing to de-escalate, it won’t work.

Again, according to our political betters, we need to teach the cops to de-escalate. Not the civilians.

While on patrol last week I found this interesting article on what our great leaders (excuse me, just spit out some coffee) are accomplishing in the USA. Passing a budget, which they haven’t since FY 2010? No. Bringing spending under control? Nope. Trying to control the border? Funny. No, they will lecture cops on the street on how to do their jobs with “de-escalation training.”

We’ve been doing this, informally and formally, for decades, and the ignorance of the people here is astonishing, even for members of congress. Plus the “journalist” writing this is not showing himself a genius <sarcasm>, IMHO.

Here we go.

Congress passes bill to fund police de-escalation training

The bill will help PDs adopt de-escalation training when encountering individuals with mental health issues in an effort to reduce officer-involved fatalities

By Farnoush Amiri

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — In one of its final acts of the year, the House passed bipartisan legislation late Wednesday that would empower law enforcement agencies across the country to adopt de-escalation training when encountering individuals with mental health issues as part of an effort to reduce the number of officer-involved fatalities.

Mr. Amiri, police agencies were “empowered to adopt de-escalation training” since they were established.  The local sheriffs, police departments, state police, etc. have set training requirements. This is simply eyewash for members of the congress to say, “Hey, I voted for something…”

The bill passed 264-162 with Republican support and capped off a modest two-year effort by Congress to pass police reform legislation. The proposal — first introduced by Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas and Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island — will now go to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.

“By giving law enforcement the tools they need to help those experiencing mental health emergencies and other crises, we can help make communities safer by building a stronger bridge between the criminal justice system and mental health care,” Cornyn said in a statement late Wednesday.

I will give Biden this, he does know about mental illness. But what tools are the congress giving local cops? Let’s see.

The bill that passed the House on Wednesday will amend a 1968 federal crime law to authorize $70 million in annual grant funding for law enforcement training on alternatives to the use of force that include scenario-based exercises for officers. It will also require the Justice Department to develop a series of curriculum and training topics in partnership with stakeholders like law enforcement and civil liberties groups and mental health professionals.

“Whether it be Rodney King, or whether it be George Floyd or any of the number of incidents we’ve seen over the last 30 years: How police deal with force is at the heart of the discussion about policing,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington-based think tank. “And what we have come to find out over the last five to eight years is that the training is outdated. It doesn’t live up to current-day practices.”

They are putting out $70 million a year in grants. There are 50 states, over 18,000 police agencies, divide the money by the number of agencies, that’s less than $4,000 a year per agency. Not a really good statistical analysis, but good enough. Especially when you see that local/state governments spend over 200 billion a year on law enforcement.

The point about the federal Just-Us department putting out “curriculum and training topics in partnership with stakeholders like law enforcement and civil liberties groups and mental health professionals” is very  troublesome. The fact is Democrats want to federalize local/state law enforcement, and they will do it any way they can. By federalize, I mean destroy. Plus funding from the feds always comes with strings attached. Once they get you hooked on federal money, there is no going back.

As an example, a point I’ve written over before is the federal government has pushed for body worn cameras (BWC) on local cops, they have been very hesitant to have their agents wear them. For some reason they don’t want to be recorded doing their duty.

My personal experience is BWCs have been a net positive for cops, leading to more complaints being dismissed, as the evidence shows the police acted properly.  Once on the street we were backing up some federal agents while they served a warrant, they were not happy we would not turn off our BWCs. I told them unless my chief of police authorized it, no deal. Fortunately this is not become a major issue.

As far as Mr. Wexler’s comment’s, he’s dead wrong. Rodney King wasn’t just walking in the street and four cops decided to beat him for no reason. He had committed multiple crimes and was evading in a vehicle:

LAPD officers beat Rodney King on camera

At 12:45 a.m. on March 3, 1991, robbery parolee Rodney G. King stops his car after leading police on a nearly 8-mile pursuit through the streets of Los Angeles, California. The chase began after King, who was intoxicated, was caught speeding on a freeway by a California Highway Patrol cruiser but refused to pull over. Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) cruisers and a police helicopter joined the pursuit, and when King was finally stopped by Hansen Dam Park, several police cars descended on his white Hyundai.

A group of LAPD officers led by Sergeant Stacey Koon ordered King and the other two occupants of the car to exit the vehicle and lie flat on the ground. King’s two friends complied, but King himself was slower to respond, getting on his hands and knees rather than lying flat. Officers Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Ted Briseno, and Roland Solano tried to force King down, but he resisted, and the officers stepped back and shot King twice with an electric stun gun known as a Taser, which fires darts carrying a charge of 50,000 volts.

But coming back to the “de-escalate” canard, the author here, and the man quoted, miss the critical fact. If the suspect is not willing to de-escalate, no amount of talking by the cop or training by a federal contractor will change this. If Mr. King had not driven drunk over miles, endangering the public, he would never have come under the attention of police. And if he had complied with the orders of the cops, again, this would have never blown up.

Mr. Floyd suffered, and perhaps died from, from a fentanyl overdose. Did the cop screw up, yes, in my opinion. The cardiac compression was a technique he was trained on and authorized by the department. But once he looses consciousness and the heart stops, everything changes. At that moment you need to tell dispatch to get the ambulance there faster, start chest compressions and render other first aid. But again, if Floyd had complied with the orders of the police, he would be alive right now.

But another paragraph brings this entire endeavor into question:

The issue is a perennial one for the nation. While nearly one in five U.S. adults has a mental illness, people who are untreated are 16 times more likely to be killed during a police encounter than other people approached by law enforcement, the Treatment Advocacy Center, a nonprofit dedicated to getting treatment for the mentally ill, concluded in a 2015 report.

Let’s just pass on the ridiculous stat of 20% of Americans have mental illness and go again to this article. The congress funded de-escalation training for cops to handle people on the street who are committing crime, angry, etc. Mentally ill people are different animals, and they will not respond to “de-escalation” training, but Crisis Intervention Training, or CIT (a concept originated at local police agencies, not the feds, thank you very much). Reasoning with a suspect inside a house is different from having to deal with a schizophrenic where you’re only one of many voices he’s listening to. So why do we have to discuss mental issues in this article?

Again, more eyewash and wasted money from the Congress. The problem is once this crap is put in, cutting it out of the budget is practically impossible. Plus the funding will come with strings attached, such as requiring federally mandated training. So if I were a chief or sheriff somewhere, I would say to the Just-Us department, “Pass.”


Michael A. Thiac is a retired Army intelligence officer, with over 23 years experience, including serving in the Republic of Korea, Japan, and the Middle East. He is also a retired police patrol sergeant, with over 22 years’ service, and over ten year’s experience in field training of newly assigned officers. He has been published at The American Thinker, PoliceOne.com, and on his personal blog, A Cop’s Watch.

Opinions expressed are his alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of current or former employers.

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4 thoughts on “Once again, De-escalation training is needed for civilians, not for cops.”

  1. Sir, schizophrenia–natural or product of trauma-based MKULTRA programs? I’m very serious. It’s actually some of both, but more of the latter than the former. Those other voices he or she may be hearing is Karl on his first day at the Rand or Raytheon or MIT, trying to trigger something exciting for the mad scientist down the corridor who is studying, oh, I don’t know, how many stressors does it take to get to the center of a tragedy. Just something to consider and a topic that needs to be needed to be brought out into the open right after it went underground after the Church Committee. I enjoyed your article and will read more at your site.

    • Thank you sir. I was one of the first members (victims who was selected) for the Houston Police Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) in 2000 (?). At first I was not too enthused on attending, but it was an excellent course and the officer running the department’s officer was the best.

      No question, the CIA and other government agencies have abused the trust of the American people in the past. Want another example, the Tuskegee Syphilis project. Suffice to say, government at all levels is at best not trusted. They’ve eared the distrust.

  2. After the Rodney King incident, then LAPD chief Daryl Gates was widely criticized when he suggested that young people need to be trained on what to do when they were arrested. Clearly, he was on to something.

    • Something parents need to keep teaching their kids, the time to argue about how you are treated is after the arrest. You resist, you are escalating the incident, and that will only make it worse. You want to complain about how you were handled, fined, file a complaint with internal affairs.

      Sometimes it’s really serious before it started. During the (if memory serves) World Trade Conference Seattle 1999, some of the usual suspects announced they would throw Molotov cocktails. The Seattle Chief of Police said his snipers would be out and if anyone had one in his possession, he would be shot immediately. I would call bringing these to a protest a serious escalation. How are we supposed to handle that? The punks have already gone to deadly force, and we need to protect ourselves and others.

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