R.I. police officers take de-escalation training course

LINCOLN, R.I. (WLNE) — Police officers from across Rhode Island are participating in a training course this week, which focuses on de-escalating tense situations without using force or getting physical.

The course is called LEADS Training, and it’s taught by retired police officers Kevin Dillon and Bernie Hallums from Connecticut.

LEADS stands for ‘law enforcement active diffusion strategies’ training. Dillon and Hallums have been teaching the practices to Rhode Island officers for over 10 years.

“One of the highlights of the course is understanding human emotion,” explained Lt. Kevin Dillon, “and understanding the physiological changes that occur during human emotion.”

“When you start yelling in someone’s face, do you expect them to be calm and collected over that?” Dillon questioned. “So we teach them to understand what emotion is going on.”

LEADS Training teaches officers how to recognize aggression and not stimulate it. Officers also learn communication skills and evidence-based strategies to avoid physical confrontation.

The program also teaches officers how professional communication can protect them in the field; reduce civilian complaints as well as civil litigation. It has been reviewed and approved by the United States Department of Justice.

However, many departments across the US do not receive this type of training.

“We have to see the value,” said Lt. Dillon. “That’s the problem, we still don’t see the value in training.”

“Politicians should be pushing to train these officers at a higher level and fund them so they can perform,” he said.

Dilllon and Hallums believe this type of training should be reviewed in departments monthly. Both men are completely against the idea of defunding police departments.

“Judge your officers by what they’re doing out on the streets,” said Officer Hallums. “You will find that you have outstanding officers here in this community and in the state of Rhode Island.”

The officers who are training this week will take their knowledge and training back to their departments, where they will teach it to their fellow officers.

Lt. Dillon and Officer Hallums have taught the course in Rhode Island every year since 2009.

(c) WLNE-TV // ABC 6  2020

Categories: News, Rhode Island