Realistic De-escalation Instructor Course

2-Day Course | Hosting Options Available

Course Description

The Realistic De-Escalation Instructor Course thoroughly dissects the complex concept of “de-escalation” and the many elements in determining its feasibility or effectiveness in a variety of encounter types. This deeper knowledge of de-escalation is valuable to both line officers and the investigators and administrators called in to review force events after the fact. All these parties will need to determine to what extent using de-escalation techniques is feasible in specific high-pressure and rapidly unfolding encounters.

This course is designed for law enforcement trainers, whether they deal with street officers, field supervisors, investigators, attorneys, administrators or any other group within law enforcement. Instead of being based on the rhetoric that exists around the emotionally charged subject of police use-of-force encounters and the specter of excessive force, the curriculum is based on unbiased scientific realities. The Force Science Institute’s research into human behavior as it applies to high-pressure encounters and de-escalation provides essential insights for law enforcement personnel at all levels and is designed to be the basis for de-escalation training for police.

Participants in the course will learn concepts and methods that support de-escalation efforts when personal connections can be made between officers and subjects. These attendees will be given knowledge regarding ways to help people in a state of mental health crisis, or whose perception of reality is altered. Law enforcement officers using the lessons from this course will be able to better manage human beings with better skills around establishing contact, building rapport and gaining influence to achieve police objectives.

Course Goal

The goal of this program is to equip professional trainers with the scientific knowledge of resolution methods for potentially violent confrontations between law officers and subjects. This information will help participants assess the circumstances accurately and defuse those situations without violence when possible, using easy-to-grasp and successfully applied tactics to receive voluntary compliance and prevent use-of-force crises from erupting.

Due to the course’s focus on helping participants teach their colleagues the concepts of realistic de-escalation, the information can spread widely through police departments and law enforcement agencies. When departments incorporate de-escalation training for police informed by in-depth expert research, personnel are better prepared to deal with some of the most dangerous scenarios, not just to them but to public safety. This includes difficult cases such as “suicide by cop” calls and encounters in which the subject is experiencing an altered perception of reality.

Scenarios, when subjects are in states such as hyperactive delirium with severe agitation, require specific approaches from responding personnel. When peace officer standards and training reflect these specific circumstances, there is a better chance for a successful resolution to even the most difficult encounters.

The ultimate goal of the Realistic De-Escalation Instructor Course is to more widely disseminate an understanding of the human factors and performance research data that can change and improve officers’ approach to force encounters. To make these concepts into mainstays in law enforcement agencies around the country, those departments will need experienced and well-prepared trainers. Graduates of this course can take on those demanding educational roles, helping their students, in turn, avoid arrest-related deaths, as well as danger to themselves or harm to bystanders.

IADLEST National Certification Program™


Course Duration
2 Days

Training Hours
16 Hours

2 Expert Instructors


Course Objectives

Students who finish this course and successfully pass the exam at the end of the two-day, 16-hour session will be able to do the following and teach these skills to others through departmental training programs:

  • Articulate what de-escalation really means in a law enforcement context, what the objectives of this process are and in what situations de-escalation is and is not an option for officers.
  • Discuss the tactical principles of de-escalation, risk assessment and decision-making.
  • Quickly evaluate an interaction to determine whether de-escalation efforts are reasonable to consider, tactically practical or likely to be successful in that scenario.
  • Apply concepts from the Force Science Institute's research, such as the "Response-ability Zone" and the "7 Ts De-Escalation Evaluation Model" to evaluate which tactics are needed or likely to be successful in a particular de-escalation process.
  • Use the "Behavioral Influence Stairway Model" to understand how to make connections, establish rapport and apply effective principles of persuasion when officers are dealing with difficult subjects, such as those suffering from mental illness.
  • Enhance de-escalation efforts by strategically combining human performance research findings, observations of subject behavior and psychological tactics related to negotiation and influence.
  • Learn and apply the Thought/Emotion/Behavior (TEB) Matrix to quickly recognize what state a subject is in - "conflict," "crisis" or "contaminated thinking" - and understand which persuasion strategies will be most effective at containing the situation.
  • Employ specialized questions specifically designed to cognitively engage individuals in crisis, increasing the likelihood of a resolution that either avoids or minimizes force in the process of obtaining control.
  • Better ensure that officers' approach and control strategies give them the maximum possible response options, while minimizing the potential for the encounter to escalate, either emotionally or physically.
  • Balance the desirability of trying to find a peaceful conflict resolution with the need for officers to protect themselves and maintain public safety.
  • Apply principles of officer self-regulation and emotional control in order for law enforcement personnel to maintain rational thinking processes, no matter how heated and complex an encounter becomes.
  • Recognize and list the common barriers to communication that officers commonly and unintentionally use, helping them replace those behaviors with more effective techniques like active listening.
  • Discuss how professional de-escalation techniques embrace and incorporate the concepts of "fair and impartial" and "rightful policing" principles.
  • Create valuable in-house training programs in de-escalation that incorporate the psychological and physiological science included in the Realistic De-Escalation curriculum, ensuring line officers, administrators and all other relevant personnel can use these concepts.
  • Assist investigators and others involving uses of force, such as officer-involved shootings (OIS), helping these teams recognize the situational and behavioral factors that may have contributed to the situation and played a role in determining whether de-escalation efforts would have been effective or even feasible.
  • Help community members and media outlets better understand the nature of realistic de-escalation and what it entails, along with the challenges posed by subjects that can inhibit or prohibit an officer's ability to safely apply de-escalation tactics in the moment.

Hosting This Course

Departments that want to host this course for a large group of personnel within their agencies and the surrounding region can reach out to the Force Science Institute. Click the button below and complete some basic informational fields to get started. Within a few business days, the training coordinator will call you directly to review class options, pricing structures and hosting requirements.

CLEE or POST Approval

Realistic De-escalation Instructor Course has been certified for sixteen hours of Continued Law Enforcement Education (CLEE) credits through the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST) for their National Certification Program (NCP) review for POST accreditation.

IADLEST NCP accreditation is currently accepted in 35 states. The seal conveyed by IADLEST is a sign that the selected courses are held to high and consistent standards. This is part of an overall effort to ensure police officer training and criminal justice education throughout the country are carried out in consistent and helpful ways.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do participants take tests?

There are exams for participants in the instructor course. One is a pre-test issued in advance of the session and the other is a final exam taken at the end. The pre-test can be experienced online before students arrive for the course.

Is there homework associated with the course?

There is no work students are expected to take home. However, the participants are expected to be available to one another to review the materials provided as well as the example cases studied in the course.

What level of class participation is expected?

Students will take part in group exercises and scenarios within the class’s two days. These will involve classroom discussions, in which all participants are encouraged to contribute and make contributions. Becoming engaged in these discussions will help the students prepare for their final exams and successful course completion.