MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Myrtle Beach police, as well as officers from around the country, are receiving additional training on how to de-escalate tense situations before using force.
The verbal de-escalation course is to help resolve potentially dangerous conflicts and to teach officers how to reduce the number of conflicts while dealing with the public, according to a press release from the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
The four-day educational course is hosted at the MBPD's training annex and being conducted by the Milwaukee-based Vistelar.
Participants are considered contact professionals, or someone who is in charge of the emotional or physical safety and well-being of the person they come in contact with. So depending on what sort of scene an officer responds to, they must use the right tactics to reduce conflict while interacting with the public.
Those tactics include verbal intervention skills, defensive tactics, non-lethal weapon training, crowd management and officer survival.
Dave Young, co-founder of Vistelar and a former law enforcement officer, said typically the first step is contact. The situation then may move to conflict, crisis, combat and, finally, closure.
"So communication takes two parts. It takes the ability for us to identify what and how we need to say things, but we also have to have a willing participant and quite frankly a lot of times there is not a willing participant," Young said. "So these tactics are used to help develop the art of persuasion, how to persuade a person in crisis because you can't rationalize with them if they aren't thinking clearly."
In addition to the MBPD, other participating agencies are: the National Science Foundation; Naval Consolidated Brigade from Charleston; Department of Veterans Affairs from Wyoming; the Chittenden, Vt., Sheriff's Office; the Remerton, Ga., Police Department; the Deer Park, Texas Police Department; and the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.