Dallas ISD Cops Learn to De-Escalate Tense Situations

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DALLAS--When you saw the video of Sandra Bland's traffic stop, you could see she was upset.

Did you think maybe the cop could have done something to ease the tension? Bland's family thought so.

"He asked her to put her cigarette out," Sharon Cooper described at an August 4 news conference. Cooper is Sandra Bland's sister.

"There's a seismic shift in the conversation that takes place there. It's unfortunate and I think the key word to remember here is the inability to de-escalate the situation," Cooper said.

That's just what Dallas school district cops are learning to do, de-escalate situations.

The school cops have some pretty tense situations to deal with. Like child custody disputes.

A simulated scene played out before a class of 100 Dallas ISD officers. A man was upset that the mother of his children wouldn't let him pick up the kids from school. He claimed it was his weekend to have custody. She said it was not.

"I'm sure there's some type of arrangement made that I can look at so I can figure this out," the officer said.

"I don't have it on me," the father said.

"But the most important thing here that we can agree on is the safety and well-being of the children. That's what you want, right? (Man shakes his head.) " Let me do my job. Let me help you," the officer said.

The officers are learning to use "verbal judo," treating everyone with respect, to try to ease tense situations and hopefully keep those situations from getting much worse.