Besides observation skills and attention to detail, the power to de-escalate a volatile situation is one of the most valuable abilities a security officer can have. Lesser skilled officers can allow their egos to get in the way and raise tensions even to the point of lethality. Their focus is on taking down the subject, getting the obvious win, and exerting dominance. “Winning” can provide an adrenaline rush, but it’s not always the wisest approach.
The Battle of the Wind and Sun
Consider Aesop’s fable about the wind and the sun. A man passes by, and the wind and the sun each bet they could get him to take his coat off. The winner would be declared the strongest. The wind blew and blew, but the man just wrapped his coat around himself tighter. Then the sun took his turn. The weather grew warmer and more pleasant, so the man took his coat off. The gentle approach of the sun wins. The most versatile guards are trained to take the approach of the sun whenever possible, rather than that of the wind.
BOS Security Guards are Trained to De-escalate First
De-escalation is about using problem-solving skills in dealing with a tense situation or a hostile person. De-escalation training is required of all BOS Security uniformed personnel. Training is currently online due to COVID-19 but will be part of our classroom training when advisable. Officers will complete an online test to ensure they fully understand and can apply the training. They practice scenarios of dealing with difficult people. It’s probably the most important training we can give them.
Practical Applications for De-Escalation
BOS Security Officers have found these skills invaluable to calm emotionally disturbed persons, homeless persons that are agitated, and domestic situations that arise. The de-escalation process can be successful on its own or in conjunction with law enforcement backup. . Whether individuals are trying to evacuate from a dangerous situation safely or if the subject needs to remain calm until the authorities arrive, de-escalation is a valuable weapon in a security officer’s arsenal. An example of when BOS Security has been successful with this approach was last year when two of our officers used de-escalation skills to prevent an individual intent on self-harm from jumping from a seven- or eight-story balcony. They were able to grab him as he jumped and pulled him to safety, but without the efforts made to keep him calm, it’s unlikely they would have gotten close enough to intervene. Without de-escalation, the outcome could have been very different. The city of Athens commended both officers for their actions.
De-Escalation is not Always Possible or Desirable
By no means should a security guard allow themselves to be walked over or give up on resolving a situation if the gentler approach does not work. But if there is an opportunity to keep everyone involved calm and there is no imminent danger if the guard does not act swiftly and decisively, it’s a technique worth trying. Successful De-Escalation is proactive. It requires that guards be observant and attentive, not only to visible signs of danger but also to a general vibe or air of tension.
Altercation is Always the Last Resort
BOS Security practice is to avoid the use of force or hands-on engagement if de-escalation techniques will be effective to calm the situation or delay action for the arrival of law enforcement personnel should force be required. De-escalation gives BOS Security officers tools to verbally defuse a situation before it gets physical.
Learn More About Advanced Security Techniques
At BOS Security, we have a comprehensive arsenal of security tools at our disposal to effectively prevent or respond to threats of all kinds. If you would like to know more about the training our officers receive before being deployed and through their tenure or would like to schedule a security assessment, call 404-793-6965 or contact us today!