De-Escalation and Crisis Intervention That Actually Works
November 13, 2023
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
East Greenbush Fire Department
68 Phillips Road
Rensselaer, NY 12144
De-Escalation. It’s an outcome. An outcome that is highly dependent upon the actions of the individual you are dealing with. While we want to be able to use verbal and non-verbal communication to effect a behavioral change in a person, we recognize that sometimes the use of objectively reasonable force is necessary. It’s not woke policing or soft policing. It’s smart policing and safer policing.
Jeffrey G. Scholz is a retired Senior Investigator from the New York State Police with over 28 years of experience in law enforcement. While with the State Police, Jeff created Crisis Intervention and De- Escalation programs using the tenets of crisis negotiation. These programs were delivered to every sworn member of the NYSP and then also sought by other police agencies across New York State. Jeff has since enhanced the program and explains de-escalation in a way that will benefit every police officer from the new uniformed patrol officer to the 25- year detective, commissioned officer, or administrator that has the potential to work with individuals in crisis.
The course begins with discussing instances of police/citizen interactions on video, asking officers to reflect on what they may have done themselves in a similar situation and offering a look at the various topics to be covered during the day. The philosophy of De Escalation and Crisis Intervention is discussed as to how it stems from crisis/hostage negotiation, and the original NYPD model from the 1970s. We’ll define it and look at how courts have recognized that sometimes the use of force is necessary. Immediate threats will be covered and a discussion of articulating your actions will be part of examining case law that looks at how the courts will determine if the force used was objectively
reasonable. Officer safety is paramount throughout the whole class.
What happens when an individual goes into a crisis? Problem solving and differentiating between a crisis and a problem will be covered. The
stages of a true crisis state are discussed, and an “Individual in Crisis” is defined. It is important to understand some of the instances and
triggers for a person to become an individual in crisis and necessitate a police response.
The course will discuss how common emotional stress is and the four main factors contributing to it: mental illness, substance abuse, medical conditions, and situational stress. Officers are NOT expected to be doctors or clinicians and are not expected to diagnose illnesses, but several conditions they may encounter are discussed, including some intellectual disabilities and personality disorders. Understanding these conditions may help an officer understand someone’s behavior when they are not in an immediate threat situation. We’ll discuss officer response to a calls with an individual in crisis, as well as the officer’s overall assessment of the scene, including environmental, behavioral and verbal cues. Communication, connection, and steps taken by the officer to verbally de-escalate a situation are covered, using skills that have
been proven to work, both in the field in practical applications to police work and scientific studies.
As always, officer safety comes first, and indicators of hostile intent, extreme aggression and immediate threat will be covered, with examples shown. Macro and micro expressions of the universal emotions will be described to assist the officer in recognizing subtle hints of threatening behavior, as will using a subject’s baseline behavior. Finally, some notes on considerations for commanders, duty to provide care, duty to intervene and officer wellness is discussed to complete the program.
Jeffrey G. Scholz
Jeffrey G. Scholz is a retired New York State Trooper with over 28 years of experience in law enforcement.
Upon retirement, Jeff was the Senior Investigator for BCI Training at the State Police Academy, responsible for the development, facilitation, and delivery of training programs to over 1,100 New York State Police, (NYSP), Investigators in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, (BCI), as well as programs for over 3,000 uniformed Troopers, recruits, civilians, and outside law enforcement agencies across New York State and beyond. He is certified as a New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Master Instructor for Police Topics. In 2020, Jeff was the recipient of the 2019 New York State Police George M. Searle Award, which is in recognition and acknowledgment of excellence in police training.
Jeff was also the Division Coordinator for the NYSP Crisis Negotiation Program and a Crisis Negotiator since 2006. Throughout his career, Jeff also worked assignments in uniform patrol, Field Training Officer, undercover narcotics work, Sergeant, Investigator, computer crimes, major crimes and was a responder to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on NYC.