Require De-Escalation Graphic


All officers must complete a minimum of 40 hours of continuing de-escalation and mental health training every three years as provided in WAC 139-11-020 and WAC139-11-060.


The use of force by law enforcement personnel is a matter of critical concern, both to the public and to the law enforcement community. Officers are involved on a daily basis in numerous and varied interactions and, when warranted, may use reasonable force in carrying out their duties.


Officers must have an understanding of, and true appreciation for, their authority and limitations. This is especially true with respect to overcoming resistance while engaged in the performance of law enforcement duties.

The department recognizes and respects the value of all human life and dignity without prejudice to anyone. Vesting officers with the authority to use reasonable force and to protect the public welfare requires monitoring, evaluation and a careful balancing of all interests.


Any officer handling a call involving an individual who may qualify for an emergent detention should consider, as time and circumstances reasonably permit:

(a) Available information that might assist in determining the cause and nature of the individual’s action or stated intentions.

(b) Community or neighborhood mediation services.

(c) Conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques.

(d) Community or other resources available to assist in dealing with mental health issues.

While these steps are encouraged, nothing in this section is intended to dissuade officers from taking reasonable action to ensure the safety of the officers and others.

Emergent detentions should be preferred over arrest for individuals with mental disorders, who are suspected of committing minor crimes or creating other public safety issues.


Civil disputes tend to be confrontational and members should be alert that they can escalate to violence very quickly. De-escalation techniques should be used when appropriate.


Request available backup officers and specialized resources as deemed necessary and, if it is reasonably believed that the person is in a crisis situation, use conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques to stabilize the incident as appropriate.


Officers should consider that taking no action or passively monitoring the situation may be the most reasonable response to a mental health crisis.

Once it is determined that a situation is a mental health crisis and immediate safety concerns have been addressed, responding members should be aware of the following considerations and should generally:

  • Evaluate safety conditions.

  • Introduce themselves and attempt to obtain the person’s name.

  • Be patient, polite, calm, courteous and avoid overreacting.

  • Speak and move slowly and in a non-threatening manner.

  • Moderate the level of direct eye contact.

  • Remove distractions or disruptive people from the area.

  • Demonstrate active listening skills (e.g., summarize the person’s verbal communication).

  • Provide for sufficient avenues of retreat or escape should the situation become volatile.

Responding officers generally should not:

  • Use stances or tactics that can be interpreted as aggressive.

  • Allow others to interrupt or engage the person.

  • Corner a person who is not believed to be armed, violent or suicidal.

  • Argue, speak with a raised voice or use threats to obtain compliance.

Renton Police Department Comments

In addition to state-mandated crisis intervention and de-escalation training that our officers receive every year, our department routinely trains our officers in those skills. This training takes many forms, including interactive simulator training and live-action role player training.

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