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Goshen Parks and Recreation to host a family movie night at Shanklin Park

Friday, July 19, 2024

Goshen’s Parks and Recreation Department is hosting its second movie in the park this summer on Friday, August 2nd at 7 p.m. at Shanklin Park, featuring the 2023 Pixar film “Elementals.” Bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy this family-friendly movie on the big screen. A concession stand will... more

Tentative dates for Norfolk Southern railroad crossing closures announced

Thursday, July 11, 2024

The City of Goshen’s Engineering Department announced during Thursday’s Board of Works meeting a tentative timeline for the upcoming railroad crossing closures by Norfolk Southern. The City’s engineering department has been in communication with Norfolk Southern since the city was notified last week... more

Update on upcoming Norfolk Southern crossing closures

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Last week, the City of Goshen informed residents that Norfolk Southern plans to close several crossings throughout the month of July to install new rails with an approximate start date of July 8th. The work is now expected to begin on Tuesday, July 9th, or Wednesday, July 10th, and will continue through... more

Upcoming Events All »

CANCELLED City Council

Monday, July 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, July 22, 2024, 7:00pm

This meeting is in-person only.

Board of Zoning Appeals

Tuesday, July 23, 2024, 4:00pm

To view the webinar, please copy and paste this link on your browser: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89051557762 Or call: (301) 715-8592 or 312 626 6799 Webinar ID: 890 5155 7762

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.