Fear Looping in Life Threating Situations
Police Officers take an oath to ‘serve and protect’ their community. However, officers face rising threats well beyond their academy training.
The public hears about school shootings, terrorist events, and horrific accidents, after the police are first on the scene. We expect them to perform without question and give 100% to the best interest of others. The public’s perception, and opinion is that a police officer will effortlessly run into the ‘heat of battle’ without thinking. For almost all our brave officers, they will not think twice to give the ultimate sacrifice to stop the threat.
- FEAR can cause the best tactically-trained officer to become frozen in their tracks
- FEAR can create panic and cause a ‘fight or flight’ reaction to anyone
- FEAR can literally take your breath away
Fear-Looping occurs when the perceived threat is so overwhelming that the person feels the FEAR of death, and freezes.
Have you ever been in a ‘life-threatening’ accident? Do you remember how you felt? Do you remember the time that lapsed until you were thinking clearly again, realizing you were okay?
In law enforcement, tactical training simulations like active shooter drills are conducted regularly, but with one caveat… there is a ‘reset’ button. No matter the tactical training a police officer may receive, they are safely in a ‘training environment’, therefore they are not experiencing the most critical aspect of the situation like ‘fear-looping’.
PTSD, prior traumatic events, family commitment, faith, etc. can all play a factor in the processing of a ‘fear-looping’ event.
Emotional Intelligence (EI) training with tools to practice various situations, can help the police officer work through the ‘fear-looping’ situation by having a set of mental steps to practice.
The RITE Stop-Light Tool creates steps for the officer to practice daily. These steps include; STOP – THINK – GO Allowing for a 2 – 7 Second pause to Process
1. STOP PHASE: The first step
Emotional Awareness – Learning to be in the ‘present moment’ of exactly what you are feeling like FEAR. Knowing where you are, helps to break out of FEAR and move up towards HOPE or CONFIDENCE.
Coach Yourself – “What am I Feeling”? Often times when we can ‘talk to ourselves’ we can ‘break out’ of a fixated mental loop by simply acknowledging “I am in fear!”
2. THINK PHASE: This breaks the person out of “fear-looping”
Behavior Self Control – Controlling one’s behavior by climbing to a higher emotion like Confidence, instead of a lower emotion like Fear will break this looping pattern.
3. GO PHASE: Confidence to act
Acting with Confidence – Seeing all options and being able to see with increased peripheral vision the threat in front of them, and hopefully achieving the best outcome.
Emotional Intelligence Training for Police cannot be taught just in one training session or through simulated tactical training.
We must do more for the wellness aspect of our Police Officers by giving them Emotional Intelligence Tools enabling them to practice EI daily, there upon being better prepared, if and when a “fear-looping” situation occurs.
RITE Training helps officers de-escalate 95% of calls, by improving communication. Unique RITE Tools with EI & SI improves communication, builds Career resiliency, and improves Department morale. Check our EVENTS page for a training near you, or become a Host site! Contact