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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

145 N Street, N.E.
Washington, DC 20530

June 2018 | Volume 11 | Issue 6

Some military veterans face unique challenges after returning from active duty. Therefore, it is essential that law enforcement and other first responders are trained to recognize individuals in crisis and specialized de-escalation tactics for veterans.

In response, the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute (UMCPI) has partnered with the COPS Office to develop and deliver Public Safety De-escalation Tactics for Military Veterans in Crisis (PSDTMVC) classes to agencies across the U.S. To date, law enforcement agencies and other stakeholders in Spokane, WA, San Diego, CA, Jackson, TN, Pensacola, FL and Austin, TX have participated. The in-person course is limited in size to promote interaction. Over 150 participants have completed the training and represent law enforcement from city, county, state, federal, university and military agencies, as well as probation officers, social workers, and NGOs. UMCPI also conducts a Train the Trainers (ToT) course that provides a force-multiplier of trained and experienced instructors located throughout the United States.

Participants learn how the converging conditions of irregular warfare such as the severe stressors of combat, physical and mental trauma, multiple deployments, high mission tempo, and sustained combat can result in Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is often the underlying cause of the problems that bring law enforcement into contact with service members as they integrate back into civilian life. The training addresses how communication skills, combined with intervention strategies, active listening, and situational assessment practices form the foundation for managing persons in crisis. In addition, UMCPI discusses behaviors that can be attributed to certain mental illnesses and appropriate response tactics that reduce the need to use force during service calls.

Officers hone their communication skills during training, but also focus on engagement with military veterans in crisis and conditions that may be unique to men and women who have served in combat. This subgroup poses unique challenges due to their specialized military training and exposure to emotional and physical trauma. In some cases, the trauma results in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), a common wound of the Iraq-Afghanistan wars. Participants learn to recognize the characteristics of TBI and develop an appropriate strategy to de-escalate the situation.

Law enforcement officers have a unique understanding of the stressors that affect our military veterans and can be essential to providing support during crisis situations in the community. UMCPI works with first responders to ensure that they have the tools to de-escalate veterans in crisis. collaborate with community supports and service agencies for veterans and their families.

For more information on this class, please contact Bill Micklus, Associate Director at the Upper Midwest Community Policing Institute at

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