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Duty-to-Intervene Training

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Simulation-based Training to Prevent Misconduct and Protect Civil Rights

It’s been nearly 20 years since legislation established that “police officers have an affirmative duty to intercede on behalf of a citizen whose constitutional rights are being violated in their presence by other officers.” [Jones v. City of Hartford, 2003 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17340 (Dist. CT. 2003)] Recent calls for police reform are pressing local agencies to clarify policies and enact legislation with regard to dutyor failureto intervene.

While implementation varies, in practical terms: if a sworn officer or recruit is present, and if excessive force is being used or civil rights violated—and if that officer is physically able—they have a duty to intervene.

Morally and ethically-driven officers have a genuine desire to prevent violations from occurring on their watch. Nonetheless, too often we are seeing failures to intervene unfold across America. The question remains: “What prevents otherwise courageous law enforcement officers from taking action in these critical moments?”

The simple answer: They are not prepared.

In the heat of the moment, when a fellow law enforcement officer crosses the line, a physiological response can cause hesitation—and as all officers know, a moment of hesitation is all it takes to lose control of a situation entirely.

Failure to Train Creates "Failure to Intervene"

How we train in advance absolutely determines how we will react in the moment—especially when confronted with a fellow officer’s unnecessary, unreasonable, or disproportionate actions.

Now more than ever, police officers must arrive at the scene armed with an arsenal of de-escalation strategies. This includes knowing how (and when) to deploy these tactics to de-escalate our badged colleagues.

Sworn officers often fail to intervene because they are literally, in that moment, incapable of perceiving what is happening around them. Research indicates that when police officers fail to act, they are almost always in the grip of an “Uncontrolled Freeze”:  their bodies are frozen because their minds are racing. “I must be missing something,” they say to themselves.  “Why are they acting like this? What’s going on? Is there a loose weapon that I missed?”

Uncontrolled Freeze is no different from uncontrolled Fight and uncontrolled Flight. These are neurophysiological responses hardwired in the human brain for our protection and can result in a loss of fine and gross motor control, tunnel vision, and perceptual distortions.

MILO’s immersive simulation training systems are designed to trigger these intense emotional and physiological reactions. MILO-Cognitive offers curriculum solutions, like VOICE: Duty To Intervene, a science-based program that equips professionals within the law enforcement community with the tools to question decisions, speak up, and challenge behaviors more frequently and tactically—on behalf of themselves and others.

 

Your officers will have the opportunity to practice the necessary skills to avoid getting locked into an uncontrolled Fight/Flight/Freeze reaction. They will become adept at maintaining situational awareness and applying appropriate interventions as early as possible.

 

Your Department, Your Trainers, Your Community, Your Policy

Professionally-vetted duty-to-intervene scenarios, designed around established case law in this area (such as Jones v. Hartford and Samuels v. Cunningham et al.) are available upon request. Customers who already have systems will be able to download the new scenario content from MILO’s 24/7 support team. However, no one understands your community as well as you. That’s why MILO Range simulators come with open scenario creation/customization tools. You can modify existing training scenarios to match your departmental policies and expectations or create your own scenarios that reflect specific factors unique to your community. As policies evolve, drop them into your knowledge base library for quick access and incorporation into lessons.

Trainers and instructors report that these custom scenarios offer a unique opportunity to prepare officers—physically and emotionally—to smoothly handle the situations that make your community uniquely challenging. Officers learn to recognize improper policing quickly, and intervene early—before things get out of hand. Because you have the scenario creation/customization tools in hand, as policies evolve and communities change, so too can your training scenarios.

 

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Duty-to-Intervene Training Solutions

We invest time to understand your needs and policies upfront, then work closely with your team to develop and deliver the appropriate training solution. We’ll help you find the best way to integrate this custom solution into your training procedures, and support you in maintaining and evolving this solution as your policies and challenges inevitably change over time. We don’t just sell equipment; we partner with agencies and their instructors to develop their ideal duty-to-intervene training solution.

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Related Curriculum: Voice: Duty to Intervene

VOICE training supports an agency culture that makes speaking up less threatening, more effective, and more likely to be done in a productive manner for all stakeholders.

VOICE: Duty to Intervene