Inside CMPD’s new de-escalation facility
Gregg Watkins

The City of Charlotte has begun work on a new de-escalation training facility that will train CMPD officers in modern policing tactics.

The de-escalation training facility is the result of years of planning and partnership between the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Foundation, the General Services Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Public safety is a shared effort and this project supports the training and testing of Charlotte’s public safety personnel to keep the community safe,” said Charlotte Mayor Pro-Tem Julie Eiselt.

The facility will support the training of Charlotte’s public safety personnel to lessen the volatility of encounters and reduce the use of force, ultimately making our community safer. Training will focus on generating voluntarily compliance from a subject during an encounter without having to use force.

The de-escalation facility includes a two-story, 3,400 square-foot building that will provide de-escalation training scenarios as well as a 1,900 square-foot classroom with audio/visual capabilities that can seat up to 50 or more students for training.

Tactics for a safer community

Police departments around the country have started to use real-life scenarios to teach officers to balance the need for physical force with "de-escalation" tactics that try to calm tense situations peacefully.

These tactics can include mitigating the immediacy of a threat by containing exposure, establishing communication from a safe position, using verbal techniques to promote rational decision making and avoiding physical confrontation unless it is immediately necessary.

Typical topics covered by de-escalation training curriculums cover a range of objectives, including:

  • Learn to de-escalate when a subject is experiencing a mental health crisis.

  • Increase cultural sensitivity, empathy and respect.

  • Understand how excessive force can jeopardize careers and lives.

  • Learn how trauma and unresolved issues can influence judgment.

  • Develop new tools for managing one's response to anger.

  • Increase self-awareness and social skills and learn preventive strategies to avoid escalations entirely.

  • Understand the difference between fear and anger.

The project is located at 1770 Shopton Road (behind the Police and Fire Training Academy) at a total project cost of $2.4 million.