Introduction to Public Safety De-Escalation Tactics for Military Veterans in Crisis

Introduction to Public Safety De-escalation Tactics for Military Veterans in Crisis, an eLearning course, provides law enforcement with key signs that a veteran faces significant mental health challenges connected to military service and demonstrates proven tactics that can be used when responding to affected veterans.


Title slide from the course with a sad man sitting on brick steps at his home.

Arizona POST Approved Course
AZPOST Approval 22-337
AZPOST does not require the standard approval form for this course; however, if you would like one, please contact AZPOST directly at [email protected].

Course Overview

The prevalence of “invisible wounds” grows among the veteran population. One in five veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression, but only half of those who need treatment seek medical help. Serious mental health challenges connected to military service such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety have direct ties to substance abuse and homelessness, taking a heavy toll on those who have served. Often, law enforcement responds to calls for veterans in crisis as they face significant challenges of reintegration into civilian society.

This course enhances the skills and capabilities of law enforcement officers and relevant first responders when encountering critical incidents involving veterans who may be in crisis. It intends to improve officer safety by providing learners with an understanding of PTSD and other challenging factors for veterans, proven verbal de-escalation techniques, and references to resources available to veterans to cope.

The main topics include recognizable signs of veterans, the multitude of factors that may be impacting veterans’ ability to reintegrate into their communities, and multiple verbal de-escalation tactics to be used in crisis encounters with veterans to defuse potentially violent situations.

Warning: This course contains images, videos, and sounds that may be disturbing. Learner discretion is advised.

Target Audience

Law enforcement practitioners and first responders.

Cooperative Partners

This tuition-free online training was developed by the UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC), an agency of the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service and was originally supported by cooperative agreement 2018-CK-WXK-010 by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

Learning Objectives

  • Define veterans
  • Identify wartime stressors that active military experience
  • Describe the effect of multiple deployments on veterans
  • Identify how exposure to wartime conditions may result in long-term psychological problems
  • Explain the impact of sustained operations overseas and how veterans may react with heightened tension to domestic situations
  • Recognize the need for proper public safety/law enforcement intervention
  • Define Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Identify common mental health manifestations of PTSD
  • Recognize the stigma attached to EDPs and those diagnosed with PTSD
  • Identify safety issues associated with PTSD and EDPs
  • Identify ways to assess the behavior of veterans in crisis when responding to a call
  • Describe de-escalation tactics when encountering veterans in crisis situations
  • Describe EDP response principles
  • Identify response principles that have proven to be successful for veterans in crisis
  • Utilize activities and demonstrate successful response strategies
  • Identify how to access resources available to veterans and their families
  • Identify types of technologies that may assist returning veterans with reintegration

UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC)

The UT Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC) is an agency of the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service. LEIC expands capabilities of law enforcement personnel by providing training that improves the quality of policing.