Police Practice De-Escalation Tactics

WASHINGTON -- Police across the country are working on ways to de-escalate potential confrontations with the public, focusing their resources on dealing with those with mental illnesses.

Officers from North Carolina work with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to increase sensitivity in dealing with mentally ill citizens.

"I can't speak to any other crisis training but we aligned with NAMI years ago," said Sam Page, the Rockingham County Sheriff. "NAMI is not just made up of members and supporters but also family members that are affected by mental illness issues," Rockingham said.

Chuck Wexler, who works with the Police Executive Research team, said this type of training is becoming more and more common as departments across the country come to terms with the necessity of such training.

“States are seeing the necessity for having de-escalation training I think it’s really a good thing,” Wexler said.

The Council of State Governments reports that most police departments have some form of de-escalation training, but the nature of that training often varies based on the resources available to the department, as well as the department's size.

"Should there be national standards? Maybe," Wexler said. "But for now, it's not going to happen. I think what is important is getting out different models for de-escalation."

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