Workshop 3

"De-escalation as a first alternative: Distance, cover, time"

De-escalation is the primary principle of use of force decision-making. It involves considerations of proportionality, using distance and cover, tactical repositioning, “slowing down” situations that do not pose an immediate threat, and calling for supervisory and other resources. Distance, cover, time encourages creation of reaction gaps that buy time for better decision-making. 

  • Participants learn and discuss basic de-escalation techniques as the first alternative to the use of force
  • Exercises introduce the distance, cover, time model as an alternative to the mythical  ‘21 foot rule’ and other ‘line in the sand’ response rules 
  • Case studies and enactments allow for practice and vetting of the strategies resulting from discussion


The Critical Decision-Making Model (CDM) is introduced and discussed as a model for active decision making for appropriate responses to a range of incidents.

  • Participants focus on components of the critical decision-making model and apply it to situations
  • Case studies examine the application of law to documented police force stories
  • Summary discussion underscores the role of context in critical incidents and tactical situations