Eric Clark to Present Talk on “De-escalation Techniques from Behind the Wall” March 23
The American criminal justice system has been coming under increased scrutiny for encounters between police and citizens that are resulting in death due to the use of excessive force, as in the cases of Eric Garner and George Floyd.
Howard Community College professor Dr. Eric Clark believes that in many instances, police officers could have instead employed de-escalation techniques to decompress a situation and avoid negative outcomes.
“De-escalation focuses on addressing the problem and avoiding the need to use excessive force,” Dr. Clark says. “These techniques serve as a definitive and overt pre-step when an individual is in custody and non-compliant but not combative, reducing the amount of people injured in use of force encounters.”
Dr. Clark will present a free community lecture, “De-escalation Techniques from Behind the Wall,” on Tuesday, March 23 at 6 p.m. to discuss his experience in developing de-escalation techniques and how these can be used to restore confidence in community policing and mitigate harmful police-citizen encounters.
Dr. Clark developed EASE, a four-step de-escalation method that focuses on managing a situation by establishing equilibrium, acknowledging a suspect’s emotion, establishing alternatives to the situation, and providing the individual an opportunity to provide input on a resolution to the problem.
“De-escalation openly shows to the public that officers are neither a friend nor foe – they are there to do a job,” Dr. Clark says. “Applying this method indicates that an officer is fair and does not immediately feel the need to apply excessive force.”
“In both the cases of George Floyd and Eric Garner, neither individual may have been fully compliant, yet both were restrained by police and not combative. If de-escalation techniques like EASE had been used in these, it may have changed the resulting outcome of the interaction.”
Dr. Eric Clark earned his professional doctorate in criminal justice from California University of Pennsylvania, where his doctoral research was titled, “Identify Best Practices for Reducing Unnecessary Use of Force by Police When Making Arrest in Urban and Minority Neighborhoods.” He served as an adjunct instructor at HCC prior to becoming a full-time faculty member in 2017. A retired law enforcement officer with the United States Marshals Service, Dr. Clark consults as a certified legal expert on prisoner operations, use of force, and firearms safety.
Dr. Clark is the final speaker in the five-part Social Sciences Lecture Series that has taken place on Tuesdays at 6 p.m. during February and March.
Each lecture is held virtually and is free and open to the public. For more information and to register, visit howardcc.edu/lectureseries.