Hamilton officers learn de-escalation to avoid using force - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Hamilton officers learn de-escalation to avoid using force

According to Brian Buchanan, the Hamilton Police Department's training officer, teaching officers to avoid the use of force is nothing new, but the training, like law enforcement, has evolved. (Source: Gordon Graham, FOX19 NOW) According to Brian Buchanan, the Hamilton Police Department's training officer, teaching officers to avoid the use of force is nothing new, but the training, like law enforcement, has evolved. (Source: Gordon Graham, FOX19 NOW)
HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - Police officers are changing their approach to keeping the streets safe. The recent deadly incidents in Ferguson, Beavercreek, Baltimore and elsewhere have had an impact on the way law enforcement agencies around the nation now deal with potentially violent situations.

According to Brian Buchanan, the Hamilton Police Department's training officer, teaching officers to avoid the use of force is nothing new, but the training, like law enforcement, has evolved. 

Buchanan says this week's indictments of six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray is a sobering reminder of how vital that training is. 

“We pull from recent events and say look this is exactly why we do these kind of trainings and we can't comment on how the other departments may have trained or not trained, but this is why we do these and here's the learning points from some of the national incidents that have gone on,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan says it all boils down to using basic common sense. 

“The way that you conduct yourself not only with the way that you speak, your tone of voice, your rate of speech, your body language and how you treat people in general is going to be a reflection back,” Buchanan said.

Hamilton Police got to put that training into practice when responding to this 911 call last week.

Dispatcher-----What's the problem?

Caller-----My fiance is threatening to kill himself and me and him got into an argument. He started throwing stuff on the ground. I think I really need somebody here.

Dispatcher-----How is he saying he's going to do it?

Caller----He's telling me the only way I can get him to leave my property right now is the cops to kill him.

Police arrive to discover just how serious the situation has become.

Officer----He's gotten himself barricaded in the garage I guess with a razor to his throat. We were about to make contact. I didn't know if you wanted to come out.

The officers managed to talk the man into putting the knife down and took him to the hospital for psychological evaluation. 

Instead of using force Buchanan says the training provides the officers with methods of de-escalating difficult situations.


 “It's a situation that's above and beyond a normal citizen contact and once you arrive, once you get there you notice something....it may be a mental health, it might be an underlying medical incident that you need to have emergency medical services respond along with police services or it may just be a very intensive counseling session that you wear a different hat,” Buchanan said.

Every Hamilton officer goes through 16 hours of training twice a year which includes use of force, diversity and inclusion and crisis intervention.

The goal is to teach these officers better techniques to serve their community.


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