Free training seeks to modernize curriculum, build community trust

SANTA FE – Defusing potentially violent confrontation with the public was the topic of a third free training course offered to New Mexico certified law enforcement officers at the New Mexico Law Enforcement Academy (LEA).

The two-day course, Realistic De-escalation, is part of a series of free training courses seeking to modernize New Mexico's law enforcement training curriculum and reorient certified police officers on best practices when interacting with the public, said Department of Public Safety Secretary Jason R. Bowie.

“De-escalation techniques provide critical skills to accurately assess clashes, and when practical, to defuse them. The goal is to avoid use-of-force techniques,” he said. “The Law Enforcement Academy is committed to providing the best possible training that benefits every New Mexican. The de-escalation course is focused on ways to help people in a state of crisis.”

Located in Santa Fe, the LEA, a division of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety, provides standards for all training and certification of police officers and public safety telecommunicators (PST), for state, county, municipal, and tribal law enforcement agencies in New Mexico. The academy also hosts advanced and specialty courses such as the de-escalation training, said Department of Public Safety Deputy Secretary Benjamin A. Baker, the interim LEA director.

“These are state-of-the-art trainings related to a subject matter rarely taught or understood, but absolutely critical to ensuring law enforcement is best able to protect life, property, and human rights,” said Baker. “We are interested in officers engaging the community with empathy and developing a heightened sense of self-awareness.”

The LEA is increasing the capacity, professionalism, and educational breadth of the officers,” said Baker. “The increased professionalism resonates throughout their agency, and the culture it embodies, as well as the communities the officers serve in.”  

The LEA recently presented an Internal Affairs and Professional Standards and Ethics, which was geared toward thorough internal affairs inquiries, and an Implicit Bias course. Each of the three courses were designed as train-the-trainer course, which prepare participating officers to implement in-house programs at their own agencies throughout the state and shape policies and practices statewide, said Baker. 

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