De-escalation Resources

This new collection of resource guides offers elected officials, law enforcement agencies, members of the public, and poll workers concrete strategies to prepare for potentially contentious local community meetings or elections and to recognize and de-escalate conflicts.

These resources were created in collaboration with DC Peace Team, Crime and Justice Institute (CJI), and Shawn Fischer (consultant). Resources provided by Nonviolent Peaceforce also informed this critical joint effort.

These guides provide best practices for anticipating potential threats and easy-to-follow steps for defusing tension while protecting public debate, the electoral process, and public safety.

Each guide includes tailored steps and strategies focused on the specific role of one of each group: bystanders, elected officials, poll workers, and law enforcement personnel. The guides include steps to take before, during, and after -- including monitoring social media for posts indicating a potential for destructive conflict or violence, recognizing the presence of self- described militia groups, practicing de-escalation tactics, developing an emergency response plan, and debriefing after incidents.

The goal of these documents is to provide free, accessible, and informative resources to help community leaders, public safety personnel, and members of the public protect themselves, their communities, and the democratic process from violence and intimidation.



This guide supports elected leaders prepare for potentially contentious public meetings, and to recognize and de-escalate conflict.

The guide includes brief overviews of key principles, de-escalation toolkit, and safety and security best practices specific to elected officials sitting on local boards or in positions of leadership.



This guide supports volunteers or community members planning to attend potentially contentious meetings consider strategies to prepare, personal roles and techniques to recognize and de-escalate conflict.

The guide includes definitions of bystander intervention and de-escalation; general tactics; overview of CLARA and nonviolent communication methods; as well as resources and scenarios for further practice.



This guide was developed as a resource for volunteers and elected leaders looking to engage law enforcement on the role they may play helping to de-escalate tensions at public meetings. 

Law enforcement is often asked to attend and provide security at public meetings and forums where contentious topics may be debated or discussed. Law enforcement leaders and officers are typically able to assist with these types of events – supporting plans, creating incident command centers, planning for a number of scenarios and eventualities. An important element of these preparations is law enforcement’s role in de-escalating potentially volatile public meetings.



Poll workers are the backbone of our democracy and can play a key role in preventing, mitigating, and de-escalating potential tensions during the voting process. Planning and training can help create the conditions to minimize disturbances and distractions on Election Day and safely de-escalate disruptions.



Virtual Trainings

Find our list of Bystander Intervention Trainings at this link.