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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to Conduct Community Interviews 

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The City of Goshen strives to take the best care for residents and to ensure our drinking water meets all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) safety requirements.  As part of this process, the EPA will conduct community interviews in Goshen... more

2024 Spring brush pick-up begins April 22

Monday, April 15, 2024

The City of Goshen Street Department will begin the Spring brush pick-up on Monday, April 22, and will run until Friday, May 3, 2024. Please have any yard brush and leaves out before the start date to ensure pick-up. Leaf and brush piles placed in alleyways will not be picked up. Because of the large... more

Beautify Goshen Week 2024

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

In conjunction with the Goshen Chamber of Commerce’s “Beautify Goshen” Week, the Goshen Street Department will offer additional disposal services from Saturday, April 27, to Saturday, May 4, to assist city residents in their “Beautify Goshen” tasks. This free service is only available during this... more

Upcoming Events All »

RESCHEDULE: Board of Aviation Commissioners

Monday, April 22, 2024, 2:00pm

City Council

Monday, April 22, 2024, 6:00pm

To view a live stream of this meeting, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81652777559 or call +1 305 224 1968, Webinar ID: 816 5277 7559. Comments are no longer taken online. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81652777559

Shade Tree Board

Monday, April 22, 2024, 7:00pm

This meeting is in-person only.

About De-Escalation

Verbal Skills for De-Escalation

The first thing to know about de-escalation training is that the term itself is somewhat of a misnomer. De-escalation is an outcome, not one specific skill, but to get there our officers must employ a set of verbal—and sometimes physical—skills.

During training, we refer to ‘de-escalation’ as persuasion. Our goal is to persuade people to comply voluntarily with lawful commands. This is the goal of law enforcement across the country, and it’s the type of skill set used most at any given time. The Goshen Police Department encountered more than 30,000 people in 2019, with less than 50 incidents in which anything over compliant handcuffing was required. That means physical force was used just over .1 percent of the time. 

Our officers receive the persuasion class every year as part of training on officer/citizen interactions. We teach de-escalation as an outcome, and that persuasion is an integration of communication combined with physical tactics when necessary. During training, our officers learn to recognize what kind of situation they are responding to and when a situation allows persuasion to be used as a means to de-escalate.

In any given scenario, the officer(s) and person (s) interacting all have influence on the zone between them. The influence can be:

  • Physical: We discuss knowing when distance is helping the issue, and recognizing when it is not. 
  • Temporal: Time allows us to decide between courses of action and pick the best choice. When you take away distance, you start to take away time. 
  • Psychological: Our officers learn the importance of communication of all types, including body language. We discuss the fact that most people, unwittingly or no, develop an impression of someone within 2-7 seconds of meeting them, whether any words were spoken or not.

We teach our officers to try to maintain influence in all three zones, which allows options for resolution. This may allow our officers time to establish contact, build rapport, and establish influence. If our officers they cannot establish rapport with an individual, they cannot influence the individual. 

The course also includes learning about:

  • The OODA loop: The four stage thought process that everyone MUST go through before acting.  Observe, Orient, Decide, Act
  • Recognition Primed Decision Making:  Decisions made in less than two seconds fall into this category.  Rapid decisions made based on previous experiences.
  • Five Universal Truths: A series of principles developed by police trainer Dr. Greg Thompson:
    • All people want to be treated with dignity and respect
    • All people want to be asked rather and told to do something
    • All people want to be told why they are being asked to do something
    • All people want to be given options rather than threats
    • All people want a second chance
  • Assessing the situation to determine what is needed. Is this a criminal issue and ultimately an arrest must be made? Is this a civil issue? Does a person need help?
  • Contaminated Thinking: a condition of thinking in which the person has lost the ability (either temporarily or permanently) to clearly, logically, and / or rationally understand their environment due to mental or physical illness, injury, intoxication, developmental disabilities, or any combination of the above (Azar-Dickens, 2017)

After an initial assessment of the situation and taking action, the officer must then evaluate if what they are doing is working. If it is not, they need to change tactics—all in the span of seconds or fractions of seconds. Sometimes an officer can do everything right and still not be able to influence someone.

In addition to the persuasion course, officers learn verbal skills in the traffic S.T.O.P.S. program.

With scenario training multiple times a year, officers are always emphasized the importance of correctly reading a situation, using verbal communication and proper tactics.  This is carried through our firearms and physical tactics training as well.