The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

How Public Safety aims to deescalate situations

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Photo by Patrick Hansell for The Lafayette
All police officers in Pennsylvania are required to undergo deescalation training.

Public Safety officers undergo deescalation training to be able to dissipate possibly dangerous situations.

For all Public Safety officers, deescalation training is overseen by police chief Jim Meyer. Meyer has been trained by the Vistelar Consulting and Training Institute as an instructor for verbal defense and influence.

Deescalation in law enforcement is the process of favoring listening and verbal negotiation over aggressive measures.

All police officers in Pennsylvania are required to undergo deescalation training. The standards that Public Safety officers are held to are Lafayette’s own.

Officers undergo an annual 16-hour course on deescalation, a program that was implemented in 2016. During the training, they learn skills necessary for successful deescalation, including active listening, persuasion and redirection.

“It’s very interactive, and we have a lot of scenarios,” Meyer said. “And the scenarios that we use are college-based, we [use] different scenarios that we’ve run into … because it really helps improve everyone’s skills.”

Beyond the annual course, additional training is provided throughout the year. Meyer will offer refresher courses to help improve officer skills in specific areas that may be lacking.

“It’s a continual progress,” Meyer said.

“You have got to continue your training for the rest of your career,” he added. Meyer also cites experience as an officer as vital to fully developing deescalation skills.

What the deescalation procedure specifically entails varies on a case-by-case basis. Officers are expected to be able to tailor their response to suit the situation.

Campus police, who carry firearms, are trained to deescalate situations and use firearms as a last resort.

“We try to use our words before we need to resort to anything else,” Jeff Troxell, the Public Safety director, said.

“We trained under that type of high level of stress as well,” Meyer said about intense situations, such as an active shooter on campus. “You’re adjusted to going into a high-risk situation and be able to kind of keep a level head about you … so we do that type of realism training as well.”

The ultimate goal of Public Safety’s deescalation training program is to create a safer campus environment and limit conflict as officers respond to a call.

Conflict is “inevitable,” according to Meyer. “It’s going to happen, and we do our best [to] train our officers and dispatchers.”

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About the Contributors
Makenna McCall, Staff News Writer
Tall, left-handed and stupid.
Patrick Hansell, Staff Photographer

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