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I’m glad that Las Vegas Patrol Officer Brian Kroening survived the obvious lethal threat against his life in the video above. I reckon it’s a “good shoot.” That said, as someone with academic and practical experience in psychology, it’s clear that the officer and his assailant got caught-up in an escalating aggression loop: “a fast positive feedback loop between a hormonal stress response and the brains’ aggression system.” In simple terms, the officer did nothing to calm James Michael Todora down. As Todara got more and more wound up, he became more and more verbally and then ballistically aggressive. Officer Kroening could have . . .

recognized the signs – a rapid back-and-forth argument from a distressed man (who shared his tale of woe) – and interrupted the pace and tone of the encounter. The officer could have stopped speaking, changed his tone of voice, perhaps taken a literal step backwards and said something palliative like “It seems you’re having a bad day. Let’s just take a second and calm down and figure out what we can do to sort this out.”

In fact, Officer Kroening inadvertently, perhaps unavoidably, ratcheted up the stress (and thus aggression) by mirroring Todara’s speaking pace and tone and then taking hold of Todora’s arm. If the officer expected gentle compliance I reckon that expectation was unrealistic. At that point, the officer should have yanked Todaora out of the car as violently as possible.

Note: While I have worked as a reserve police officer I am in no way suggesting I would do any better — indeed any differently — in the same situation. But I do think this video highlights the fact that law enforcement officers need more training in psychology, in how to calm distraught, potentially violent people. Am I wrong?

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  1. Some police officers are so slick and so psychologically astute that they could defuse a ticking bomb with nothing but soft talk.

    But for the overwhelming majority of cops, teaching them psychology would be as useless as teaching calculus to a simian. Even if they can learn it, they’re never going to use it. Cop culture is physical and violent. Smart applicants for cop jobs are rejected by many departments. Let’s face it — cops only need to be smarter than the crooks, which is a fairly low bar.

    • I just watched the vid, and I gotta go with Ralph’s general sentiment here. You don’t have to be trained in psychology to see the guy was already highly distressed. And you don’t need psych training to exercise a little–not a lot but a little–sympathy in your dealing with such a person. Instead of asking antagonistic questions: “Is that officer here? Are you talking to him or me?”, a statement like , “I dunno, I wasn’t there, but officers make mistakes too, you know, I’m sorry if he made one with you, but let’s just talk about the issue we have here” might have been more productive. A little attempt to empathize (I hate the way that word is misused, but it is the right one here) with the driver itself would probably lead to a slowdown of the pace of the interaction rather than the escalation we saw here. I think some attitude adjustment would be more helpful than psych training.

    • The only problem I had was with the cop not realizing that driving is a right.
      Cars were not invented when the bill of rights were drafted. But travel was a right. How can gay marriage be a right but driving is not? I have to get to work via automobile five day a week to earn money to pay taxes. It is a fucking right to drive.

  2. Not wrong at all.
    I probably learned the most during my career by taking classes like verbal judo, how to negotiate, how to de-escalate a situation.
    Sure, it’s a good shoot, but very possibly avoidable.

    • My thoughts too. Not a bad shoot but avoidable. Keep your distance, get backup (maybe someone good at negotiating), and just talk the guy out of the car. Way too much confrontation there.

  3. You are correct officers need more training. Not just to bulldoze everyone with their “take charge attitude”.

    The man was clearly distraught. When the officer heard the man tell what happened and why he was riled up, his only response was that it wasn’t his problem. A human touch and a reassuring tone goes a long way with most folks in a situation like this.

    I’m not a LEO so I don’t know first hand the stress officers deal with and I’m sure it’s a lot.

    But this goes from a broken tail light to a shooting in no time flat. Is it possible there is a better way to handle these kinds of traffic stops? I hope so.

    • That was my first thought. Every time the guy was explaining why he was so upset saying “Its not my problem” isnt going to help the situation.

      Ive heard time and time again “The best weapon an officer has is his voice” but that isnt the case anymore. Now its my way or the highway, you have issues? Tough sht.
      A lot of things can be overcome with an actual human response, its too bad that isnt used in policing anymore.

      • I think it comes a few sources, traced back to attitude and culture. Children grow up exposed to the worst events through the news (the news prefers to show violence and overall uncommon events – it gets higher ratings) and that view is only further reinforced as the become police officers because the frequently only deal with the “worst” of society so that fear that they are always in danger either consciously or unconsciously begins to pervade their thinking.

        Second, the SWAT culture that has taken hold since the 90’s has turned policing into a macho, mini soldier career and combined with the “constant danger” discussed above, it makes police feel more like an occupying force (not that the “thin blue line” brotherhood attitude helps”) instead of a service in an Us VS Them environment.

        Finally, the “take charge of the situation” and the macho attitude combines to escalate situations that some thinking and applying customer service psychology (that’s truly what police are and should be – except when dealing with obviously dangerous people and no, they should not just assume everyone is a criminal) could prevent from becoming lethal encounters.

        If more training (and candidate selection!) was based on reading situations and communicating appropriately and effectively I think there would be less officer caused escalation shootings and violence.

        It is the lack of training, wrong attitude and fostering a poor culture that causes so many officers to use the only tool they know and believe works; Force.

        Speed and violence of action are traits for a soldier. Does a police officer require that sometimes? Yes, but it should not be a go to solution. Policing requires many fine tuned instruments. To all those forces that encourage a want to be a soldier in blue culture, I think they are selling what it means to be a police officer short and have it all wrong.

        I’ll leave it summarized as: “When all you have is a hammer; every thing looks like a nail”.

        (Also I believe this was a good shoot, although there is a chance it did not have to happen)

      • So this guy has a bad day and is automatically labeled a nut job? Please tell all of us how easy a life you must have had to stand on such a high point of judgement over others. Writing this guy off is probably what got him and another officer shot. Maybe show some understanding and basic human decency before writing people off as crazy. You don’t know this guy or know anything about him up until the brief moments of this video.

        • When you are pulled over with a concealed firearm, argue with the cop, and then go for the firearm and shoot a cop……sounds like the text book definition of ‘Nut Job’ to me!

          If you consolation, give them a collar….

  4. It could help, but who cares? Why burden the emperor with the troubles of the serfs? You’d be depriving him of the thrill of killing someone and getting away with it. Lots of people become cops specifically for that…

    I’m not saying cops are crap. I’m saying crap is hand-picked for the job by much larger turds.

    They love doing this.

    • @Dustin: I would guess that very few people, including cops, get a thrill out of shooting someone. A lot of stress and paperwork afterwards, second guessing yourself and probably PTSD. I am not a cop but what you are saying makes very little sense to me. To think that anyone, except the odd Psychopath, enjoys killing someone seems way off base to me.

      • The driver was out of control. The cop didn’t have a responsibility to calm him down, but should have.

        He was more intent on displaying his authoritah than anything else.

        On the other hand, that driver was probably set to go find his wife and shoot her.

    • You must be Evel Knievel, because that is one huge jump you just made going from “lack of de-escalation training” to “he just wanted an excuse to blast a dude.”

  5. My girlfriend had to work late on christmas into early on the 26th one year. Something she ate for dinner made her sick and around 3AM she started puking so work sent her home. She happens to work next to a bar so of course a cop saw her and pulled her over. the moment she explained the situation to him he let her go without even running her license. If that cop could do that for a woman who could easily have been drunk, why couldn’t this cop just said screw it for a tail light?

    • If a cop pulls someone over because he suspects they are drunk but then realizes they have no alcohol on their breath and none of the other signs of being impaired (that aren’t explained away by being sick) he isn’t giving them a break by letting them go- he’s releasing them as he no longer has reasonable suspicion to detain them.

    • Generally, if someone gets out of the car on a traffic stop, it’s because they want to fight. The video shows this specific case to fit the general pattern. If someone wants to fight cops, the chances are that they will cause problems to more people than just cops- generating more police calls, this time with actual victims.

      Generally, they also have a much better chance of having warrants, or suspended driver’s license, or something else wrong that means they shouldn’t be on the road. All that adds up to ‘just letting it slide’ being a much worse idea than if it was a calm guy who had the same brake light out.

      Even if the courts say police have no legal duty to protect people, any decent cop is working to do exactly that. The bare minimum that is reasonable to do in a case like this is to get the guy’s ID to make sure he’s not wanted for some atrocity, and if he’s clear, only then decide if enforcement action is appropriate for the minor equipment violation.

      That being said, I am a big fan of just talking to people and keeping things calm. Doesn’t work all the time, but still well worth the effort.

      • Oddly enough, I remember a time when it was considered good form to get out of the car when stopped so the officer could see your hands, etc, right off the bat and see that weren’t a threat. One of my high-school teachers actually advised us that way. I used to do it myself until, a bit farther down the line, cops started to tell me to get back in the car.

  6. I’m no cop but I’ve seen people get increasingly agitated in all kinds of situations. At family gatherings, at the office, in line at the supermarket …

    Once it starts in that direction it tends to continue in that direction unless acted upon by an external force. Which might be a calm word or a punch in the mouth.

    As I get older I see common knowledge and common sense becoming less common.

  7. I’ve been pulled over 4-5 times for speeding and I’ve only been ticketed once for it. Perhaps it’s due to my white privilege, but I like to think it’s because I acted in a rational manner and took responsibility for speeding. I’ve never heard of someone getting shot for keeping their hands at 10 and 2 and obeying the officers instructions. Sure there are bad cops out there, just like there are bad contractors, mechanics, and parents, but most of them are doing their job just fine.

    • I have a red sports car. I often get pulled over for speeding. I am polite. It seems that I only get tickets from officers intent on meeting their quota because the town depends on ticket revenue. The last one I got was in a town that hires police from another small town. They got the contract because their Chief promised, on Community TV, that his officers would double ticket proceeds. No amount of nice will work in either town.

    • Works every time. The first three words out of your mouth should be “Good morning/afternoon/evening officer.

      • Nothing like grovelling obeisance to a government thug to save yourself a few bucks.

        • If you choose to be polite and reasonable to everyone you meet, regardless of if they have a uniform, badge, or NFL style giant foam mascot head on, then you will probably have a more pleasant life no matter how often you end up speaking to police.

          Or not, it’s your choice.

        • Would you continue to be courteous towards an armed highwayman who has accosted you with the intent of stealing your property for his masters?

          Traffic fines are the modern day jizya, and you advocate saying “Thank you master” even as your master slaps you on the ears.

      • So I guess that “You’ll never take me alive, ya dirty copper!” is out of the question.

      • A few years ago, was pulled over for speeding on I-280 that runs along the San Francisco peninsula. Was mad at myself since I know where CHP hides, but wasn’t paying attention.

        Directed to pull off the freeway onto a road that leads to one of the scenic overlooks. My anger had evaporated by that point and I was taking in the smell of aromatic plants and fog rolling over Montara range from the Pacific (like this in Newfoundland ) while the CHPer ran my plates.

        He came up to the car and asked if knew how fast I was going. Rather than answer, I pointed out a hawk perched on a boulder a few dozen feet away and asked if he could smell the sage and rosemary growing by the roadside. Said something to the effect that I knew I was going too fast, but I would have missed this moment had he not pulled me over – and I was actually grateful for it.

        He actually got weepy. First day back on the job from his honeymoon. Said I was the only person that had been nice to him all day. Still got a ticket, but he shaved 20 MPH so I wouldn’t be pushed into the higher fine tier.

        Not doubt a different outcome had I been hostile and sanctimonious.

    • Sweet white privilege.

      They ought to bottle that stuff and sell it as cologne.

      Can u just imagine the strange ass cologne commercial? Should be an SNL skit.

    • “perhaps it’s due to my white privilege”……..

      I am so sick of hearing this phrase…..

  8. Police officer could have just let the driver know that his brake light was out and asked him to please get it repaired right away. Done deal and no shooting. Why get so crazy over one bad brake light when the officer admitted that others were working ? Unless there is more to this story than what we see in the video the escalation and shooting all seem pretty ridiculous and uncalled for. The driver should never have gone for his gun either. So that is on him and when he reached for that he made the decision to get shot. He says he is not going to jail. So, now he has been shot and if he survived will go to prison. Not too bright on his part but it looks like his emotions were getting out of control. Still, the officer could have de-escalated the whole thing at several points and did not. Both of them were wrong but the driver was a bigger idiot than the cop.

    • Ive had a lot of experience with Las Vegas Metro (I ride sportbikes…whoops) and I genuinely used to like our police dept….often times I was let off with just a warning, at the very least heavily reduced.

      Las Vegas has grown so much, our dept has gotten so big, ive noticed there’s a lot of real A-holes now. Everyone hates Metro now, I still meet the nice officer but for the most part its all about authority. Now instead of being nicely asked if im carrying, I get officers half drawing on me before they even get to me. My brother and I got pulled out of our car at gunpoint like a felony stop because they ran my plate and saw I have a CCW and had an arrest from when I was 18 (sportbikes…whoops).

      I realize this post makes me sound like im getting pulled over 3 times a week, in reality its nothing like that lol, but I do have interactions with LV Metro and the dept as a whole really has just gone terribly bad.

  9. Sometimes an inmate will drop into an aggression loop where I volunteer. Typically an expletive filled rant of angry self-pity. Dropping my voice to speak softly while asking a non-sequiter question (e.g.,”interesting tattoo. why did you choose that design?”) works. He has trouble hearing me, but knows I asked a question, then asks to repeat it. The dynamic changes.

    It interrupts thought patterns. Learned it by observing customer service reps defuse situations, then read about it in a pop psych book.

  10. Well, I’ve been stopped for broken tail lights, speeding, failure to come to a complete stop at a stop sign and wandering across a median over the years.

    The cops were polite, as I was and so far, most have ended in just verbal warnings and none have escalated to me shooting or being shot by a cop.

    Yeah, the cop could have been less confrontational, but cops can have bad days as well.

    In the the end, the driver is responsible for what happened. The driver wouldn’t have been shot if he hadn’t grabbed a gun and shot a cop.

  11. I thought body cams were supposed to help decipher events during shooting. If this is typical of the body cams performance I’d say it’s a huge waste of resources. After the officer backed away from the vehicle the video was nothing but a garbled mess. Certainly of little value in legal proceddings.

    • Nonsense. It shows a sequence of events that occurred. It is not a hollywood production with multiple cameras and different perspectives, it’s just one camera and we’re better off than without it. The good news is that other cops were there that may fill in some holes. Regardless, there is enough on this recording to show the state of mind of the driver and of the cop.

  12. Aggression loop, my ass. Gimmie a break. That guy was out of his mind, ranting about random stuff. The cop was fine and tried to calm the guy down, but he wouldn’t have any of it. Jesus couldn’t have calmed that guy down. Even at the beginning of the stop, he kept looking over to where his gun was. He was up to no good from the start.

    • We’ll never know if the cop could have done anything to short-circuit this mess, but yeah, the driver was out of his mind. The whole incident lasted two and a half minutes. Maybe if it had gone on another minute, the driver might have calmed down. Might. Or not. We’ll never know.

      As far as the shooting is concerned, IMO, there was no option. If this wasn’t suicide by cop, it was the next closest thing.

    • I agree. The cops and the state likely drove him insane with all the harassment and the endless fees, handcuffs, and taxation. After a lifetime of this nonsense, he was ready to suicide himself by cop over the matter of a cop, yet again, taxing him for a light bulb filament burning out.

      Driver: “You guys are just never going to leave me the fvck alone are you?”

      LOL. I get this guy.

  13. The first mistake this guy mad was getting out of his vehicle. That is a major mistake. The first mistake the cop made was dismissing the man’s problems when he tried to explain himself. If you ask a question let someone answer it. The next mistake was the man decided to take his problems out on the officer. The cop gets caught up I. A back and forth all the while trying to reason with someone who is very distraught. It was obvious that this guy was emotional and ready to lose it. Thr cop established failed to take control of the situation. It is. Justifiable self defense shooting, but could have and should have been avoided.

  14. Robert Farago, you are an idiot. I’m not sure how anybody could have blamed the outcome of that situation on the cop. People need to take responsibility for their actions. The proper response would have been to follow the officers instructions and put personal issues aside. Cops are not therapists, we don’t want to hear your sob story and regardless of how bad a day you are having it doesn’t give you the right to break the law. The guy in the video was itching for a fight and he got one. If you think cops need a psychology degree to do their jobs then maybe you can pay for it.

    • Did you miss the second sentence of the post, where he says “I reckon it’s a “good shoot?”” He also says towards the end, “Note: While I have worked as a reserve police officer I am in no way suggesting I would do any better — indeed any differently — in the same situation.” Now, I have noted bias in RF’s posts before, but this is pretty damned fair language.

      Training is good. I wish we had the resources to have a training day each week. We don’t and never will, but every decent patrol cop i’ve ever worked with says that they are still learning how to do the job better after a year, five years, twenty years, maybe all the way up to retirement.

      Due to the lack of training, most of this is from experience on the street, but can you imagine how much better we would be if we could spend a quarter of our time getting good, solid training?

      When I was in the Army, it was a two year training cycle before we deployed to Iraq for an 18 month tour. Came home and while I was getting ready to ETS, the unit started their next training cycle so they could get ready to deploy again.

      And don’t forget, wherever he lives, he _is_ paying for the training. He may not have a right to set policy based on his own opinion, but if you don’t think he has a right to express a desire for cops to be able to do the job better, as a taxpayer, then I don’t even know what to tell you.

      • I agree with more training, I have no problem with that but expecting officers that make $45000.00 a year to psychoanalyze every person they come in contact with is ridiculous. Plenty of people have doctorates in psychology and still cant give people the help they need so how do you expect cops with high school educations to do it?

        • There are and will always be times when nothing can be done, no matter how kind, understanding and well intentioned you are. This may well have been one of those times. The verbal judo style of de-escalation works often enough to deserve consideration, and it sure doesn’t require a psychology degree.

          We expect mental health professionals to get to the root cause of someone’s problems and we expect the treatment they offer to eventually bring the patient back to a level-headed state of mind as their default state. Nobody rational expects cops to do this. What we can hope to do is to just calm them down enough to not start the gunfight. Tomorrow is a new day, if they live to see it then maybe they can seek the deeper treatment they need.

  15. Interesting that LV’s Police Citizen Review Board has no content on their site. No statistics, no recommendations, nada, zip. Ditto for San Francisco – or the SF Office of Citizen Complaints

    By contrast, San Jose has a robust agency and their actions resulted in a number changes in police training and behavior as documented in the annual reports.

    Will not presume to Monday morning quarterback LV Metro’s or any other PD’s conduct. But the apparent absence of diligent oversight is troubling in LV and SF.

  16. Blah blah blah………

    Look, if someone can be pushed over the edge because the cop didn’t lead the whole flow of traffic in an inspiring round of Kumbaya, then that guy was standing too close to the edge to begin with.

    Yes, there are better and worse communication techniques to apply in various stressful situations. Much of that is common knowledge and much of that has been distilled to core principles and best practices. Ask any convenience store clerk about how to deal with animated customers. They get much the same population as cops conducted traffic stops, only they don’t have the force of law in their tool box.

    You can train officers all you want, and definitely some training in de-escalation is useful. However, you must recognize that there are limits to how much training will improve an officer’s performance in the field, and there are limits to how effective even flawlessly executed techniques will have on particular subjects.

    Some officers just aren’t good enough to get over the goal line, while some particular encounters were never amenable to a peaceful outcome, anyway. Learn what you can from the videos and case studies, but the answer isn’t always going to be “more training” or even “smarter officers.”

  17. By watching the suspects hands, it was clear that that guy was inching his left hand towards the gun in the passengers seat the whole time. The officer did a pretty good job in the middle of the confrontation trying to calm him down with his talk.

    I mostly likely would have stepped back from the car door when I asked him to remove himself from the truck, but then again I am in no means a law enforcement officer. I would think the room would have gave me a chance to engage the suspect instead of grappling with a loaded weapon.

    Regardless, that suspect had bad intentions on his mind before got into his truck this morning. I am glad the officers survived the encounter and thank them for their service.

  18. I don’t think an aggression loop was at play here. The officer may have approached the driver as from a position of authority, but as the incident wore on, the officer was working at defusing the situation, but the driver had already made up his mind regarding suicide, very possibly. I say that he apparently made up his mind (during the incident) because he did not want to step out of the vehicle toward the end, because that would have taken him away from his firearm, and he announced his intention when he said something like “well, maybe I’ll just shoot myself.” I don’t think the driver was crazy. At wit’s end, maybe, but not crazy. And I think the shooting may have been avoidable, but the officer was justified. I would be interesting to discover the specifics of the shooting, as I only heard two shots, apparently hitting the driver and the second officer.

  19. There are a few different things in play here. You are all looking at the video from the safety of your home on your computer. In hindsight everything becomes clear. Investments, relationships, and deadly force encounters. The fact is the cop was enforcing the laws of Las Vegas. The people of Las Vegas can work to get the laws changed if they don’t want those laws enforced. Secondly through a majority of commits people are acting like it was the cop’s fault that the guy got pulled over and was agitated. The guy was obviously distraught from what happened with his wife and showed lots of signs of aggression towards the cop. Again the cop was enforcing the traffic code and was in a lawful encounter when the SUSPECT decided it was a good idea to reach for a gun and shoot at police officers. Where is the personal responsibility in this situation? The suspect was aggressive and reached for a gun and shot at the officers hitting one. To me there is a comparison between putting any blame on the officer and the anti gunners blaming the AR-15 and 30 rd mags for the Newtown shooting. If a cop is acting aggressively don’t act the same way back and pull a gun on him. We have courts and procedures to remedy issues like that. It all comes to personal responsibility. Play stupid games and get stupid prizes.

  20. Sad situation that I don’t blame the cop for, in reality this is the expected outcome of the drug/terrorism war and the rise of the warrior cop. If departments didn’t constantly train officers to be hyper alert and ready to shoot in the name of “officer safety” then this probably would have been de-escalated. I like to think of it as the Barney vs. Andy policing methods, one sees everyone as a criminal challenging his authority the other sees a fellow citizen he swore an oath to serve and protect. I feel terrible for both cops and the driver, this is a result of short sighted policy and training choices not a jerk with a badge.

  21. “I’m gonna shoot myself!!”

    Oh. Okay. Problem solved, I guess.

    *backs away from brain matter splatters*

  22. Marines could learn to do the same.
    In 2007 I was in Fallujah, and our dismounted patrol kept waving off a vehicle that kept creeping up behind us.
    Because of the threat of VBIEDs we don’t let them close to our patrols.
    After the third time this car got too close I fired a flare over the car as a warning and walked over to the car since SOP was to search the car at that point.
    The driver was a frail old man who could barely see through his cataracts. I asked him to step out and show some ID.
    At that point my squad leader came running over screaming at the terrified man like a drill sergeant.

    Iraqis on the streets watched in disgust and I was pissed off. Some stuff can be accomplished with less force.

  23. First, clean shoot, at least from what I can gather from the video.

    Second (and admittedly from the comfort and safety of my comfy chair) I give the officer a grade of C-minus for his attempts at de-escalating the situation. He kept allowing himself to get drawn into the driver’s verbal cadence. He should have either taken control of the situation verbally (“OK, sir, I need you to stop talking for a minute so we can straighten this out and get you on your way, can you do that for me?”) or just let him rant for a few more breaths and then give him some kind of empathetic comment (“Sounds like you’re having a lousy day, I get it.”)

    Back when I worked the streets a thousand years ago, an old partner of mine was a master at giving people like this driver both the space and the dignity to do exactly what he wanted them to do.

    Come to think of it, he did it to me all the time too.

  24. It wasn’t too long ago that an Arizona officer was killed in an encounter with a man who had been concealing a pistol. The officer didn’t draw down on a man he thought might have a weapon and who was acting weird. He didn’t grab him and frisk him for weapons. He appeared to try hard to keep the man calm and avoid setting him off. For his trouble he took four bullets to the head.

    That doesn’t mean police should go around gun-facing everyone with the idea that someone MIGHT have a gun. Between hyper-aggression and complacency there’s a middle ground. But it’s not always easy to get that middle ground when you have a couple of seconds to put your marker down and I’d much rather have to shoot someone who is pulling a gun on me and be accused of not practicing enough ‘de-escalation’ than end up 6 feet under and be thought of as a swell guy who gave that felon a chance.

  25. I know a few officers that have a ton of compassion and intelligence. Many get specifically called for emotionally disturbed persons on a regular basis and form an unofficial “EDP unit” lol. These kinds of officers are better suited for a lot of situations, responding to a domestic or a traffic stop even with an EDP you should be prepared to be aggressive as always but start off talking like a normal person. When you forget you are talking to an LE officer and only remember because of the uniform then you know the officer is a good cop but when the cop talks to you in a monotone voice with no personality I can see how that would do absolutely nothing to help certain situations, certainly it would help when arresting a belligerent felon because I find those officers with a monotone voice to ignore all the BS out of the person they just arrested voice. Its a balancing act. I think the LVMPD officer did a reasonably decent job, I probably would have talked with the guy more but then I might be wasting more time on the stop, I also might have tried to reassure him a smidget (but with no promises). Its hard to say, I don’t like second guessing anyone.

  26. Yeah. As a bartender put into a situation that easily could become violent between or with a single patron, you should NEVER escalate the problem by engaging in tet a tet. Cooling a situation with easy words and giving the angry one a way out with words and assurances conversationally ALWAYS works. Aggressive people generally cool off when they understand you are listening to their gripe and they generally calm down (not always) after they get it out. I’m not allowed to carry a weapon as a bartender but I do get to use my skills to deescalate shitty situations.

    This guy is obviously on edge from the beginning. Officer should have said he was giving a courtesy warning in a nice calm voice or other platitudes to calm and CALL BACKUP.

    He engaged on the same level as the nutjob and that is escalation. Lying is fine to assure safety.

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