Situation de-escalation: Preparation and practice are key for first responders

Video shows officers in New York keep their cool during a tense traffic stop involving an aggravated city councilman


The confrontation began when a police officer pulled up behind a vehicle that was stopped in the middle of the street. When the vehicle did not move, the officer honked his horn. When the vehicle still did not move, the officer approached and asked for the driver’s license and registration.

Unknown at first to the officer, the driver was a city councilman who had a history with police. Captured on body cam footage, the driver immediately became belligerent, using an endless stream of profanity toward the officer and refusing to follow his directions. He told the officer he was his boss and to “leave him the f**k alone.” He put his hands on the officer and at one point tried to drive off. He blasted music from his car stereo, including a song with the refrain “F**k the police.” He tried to incite bystanders against the officer.

Through all this, the officer remained calm. He didn’t raise his voice. He treated the driver with professional courtesy. He followed protocol – calling for backup and insisting that the driver remain in the vehicle. He never once reacted in kind to the taunts, insults and venom coming from the man. He tried to reason with him, explaining that if he could just check the man’s license and registration, he could soon be on his way.

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