Police train de-escalations at Lenoir County Community College

LENOIR COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) – What may seem like a routine traffic stop can quickly escalate into a life-threatening situation for law enforcement officers.

This reality is why the Kinston Police Department is enhancing its training to improve safety and effectiveness on the job.

“Probably more than five situations that I’ve been in up to this point this year,” said Daquante Jones from the Kinston Police Department, recalling his involvement in shootings.

To address these dangers, Lt. Kirk Hensley is teaching officers how to read body language, identify armed suspects through clothing cues, interpret verbal and nonverbal threats, improve street-level interviewing, and detect lies.

“If I can teach law enforcement officers to recognize the cognitive path to the physical load, and to the action, then they will get ahead and in front,” Hensley explained.

Officers are finding the training invaluable. “Trying to throw the violator off by asking them questions and throwing a lot at them so their brain cannot process a lot of information gives you a tactical advantage. That’s new to me,” said Officer Tylor Brokaw.

Daniel Mclawhorn, the director of public safety at Lenoir County Community College, emphasized the importance of this training.

“In the past, we did not have a lot of training on that, so we recognize now that we are giving this program, and officers are having fewer use-of-force reports and complaints,” he said.

Additionally, the program includes training on the use of Narcan, vital due to the rise in methamphetamine use and the associated danger of fentanyl exposure to officers.

The comprehensive approach aims to equip law enforcement with the skills needed to handle the increasing risks they face.