BSIS Firearms Training Manual - October 2001 Edition

San Diego office of Academy Security Training

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 Firearm Training Manual  51

The escalation of force is the increase in the amount of force used in a conflict situation. Ideally, the situation would allow for the guard to do a step-by-step increase in the use of force. However, in the real world, it is not always possible to respond in this ideal manner. Generally, however, it is possible and appropriate to gradually increase the level of force but stop short of using a firearm. The levels for escalation of force are given below.

4. Self- Control: The most important person to control in a conflict situation is yourself. You may truly have no control over what anyone else does in a conflict situation.

Visual presence: This level is often called a visual deterrence. This means a guard simply allows him/herself to be clearly seen. The fact that a guard can be clearly seen by anyone may in itself inhibit a potential conflict situation. For example, if a person is considering committing a crime or engaging in hostile behavior then sees a guard standing or patrolling nearby, that person may NOT commit the crime or engage in hostile behavior. Thus a potential conflict situation, and the risk of escalation in the use of force by the guard, may have been avoided because the guard maintained a visual presence. A guard can easily maintain a visual presence in a relaxed, alert and non-threatening manner. This in turn may reduce the possibility of force.

5. Verbal Communication: Engaging in a simple non-threatening, non-hostile verbal communication is often not thought of as a possible show of force. But it can be. There are many other factors involved in effective verbal communication than just talking, especially in tense conflict situations. When engaging the subject in verbal communications be aware of how the following factors can inhibit or promote conflict:

6. Your physical stance: Maintain a non-threatening stance and appearance. For example, stand straight and relaxed with your hands at your side. UNLESS JUSTIFIED, DO NOT stand in a threatening ready position, such as with your hand on your firearm or your hand on your baton. The more calm and non-threatening your total physical stance and gestures are, the more likely that you will appear non-threatening. This non-threatening appearance may contribute to more effective communications in a delicate situation.

7. Physical Closeness: Maintain an appropriate distance from the subject. This not only may contribute to your safety but may also cause you to appear less threatening to the other person. What an appropriate distance is depends on the factual situation. An appropriate distance may be one foot in a loud, crowded nightclub, 10 feet during a crowded demonstration or five feet in a parking lot. In a conflict situation, it is generally best to never touch anyone and to always maintain an appropriate and even safe distance, even if you must take a step back from the suspect while talking and listening to the subject.

    1. Tone of voice: Speak in a calm and respectful tone. Do not speak in a loud, cursing manner. Think about it: the more politely someone speaks at you, the more likely you are to be polite to that person. So be polite and calm in conflict situations, especially if you



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