Iowa Legal Update
2021 Lesson 11: De-Escalation
This is an online law enforcement course focused on de-escalation. It provides officers with a greater understanding of an involuntary phenomenon that virtually all human beings can experience, called flooding. Flooding occurs when the brain is overwhelmed by adrenaline. The fight-fight response—which serves to help us in the face of threat—goes too far. The resulting flood of adrenaline disrupts the brain instead of helping it. The lesson explains the relationship between escalation/de-escalation and the fight-flight response. It explores how potentially tragic outcomes of many encounters between officers and citizens can be avoided if the officers can manage the flooding that occurs, either the citizen's and/or their own. Finally, the lesson provides instruction on how to prevent situations from unnecessarily escalating and how to de-escalate situations when possible.