Response to the Non-Criminal Barricade®

Disengagement & Special Relationships

Online and In-Person Training

This course teaches law enforcement officers and supervisors the best way to respond to mentally ill persons who are armed, barricaded, and in crisis. Students will leave the course with an understanding of modern disengagement and re-engagement tactics, the specific ways to avoid liability, and a collection of the best non-criminal barricade policies from police agencies all around the country.

If you are like a lot of law enforcement professionals you have considered these questions:

  1. What should officers do with a suicidal person alone in their own home who refuses to exit?
  2. Do officers have a legal duty to take action to try to save the subject from harming themselves?
  3. When is it appropriate to disengage from a non-criminal barricaded suspect and will officers be liable if the subject harms a third party?

The way law enforcement officers respond to a mentally ill person in crisis is a topic of intense debate. In this course, we’ll first answer each of those questions and discuss the relevant laws about liability and the “special relationship” doctrine. Then we will examine several case studies, some which resulted in the agency being found liable and some where the agency was not. You will see real world videos from dramatic incidents when the police disengaged, and some when they should have. You’ll learn the modern tactics your agency can use to both limit liability and prevent a violent confrontation.

Each student will receive:

  1. An understanding of your state’s laws regarding the public duty doctrine, special relationships, liability, and duty
  2. A decision-making cheat sheet for disengagement
  3. Policies, a police report template, and a script to use to sever special relationships

Two Ways to Attend This Course:

In-Person Course

Online Course

Quick Facts

Target Audience:

Patrol Officers and Field Supervisors, Hostage and Crisis Negotiators, SWAT Operators and Tactical Commanders and Law Enforcement Policy Makers, and Law Enforcement Dispatchers and Call Takers

Course Length:

8 hours

Course Customizations and Certifications:

We customize this course for the state we are presenting it in. That means you’ll learn about the specific laws from your state. This course is California POST Certified. Need certification for your state?
All of our courses are California POST certified because we are based in California. However, we present courses all over the United States and we’re happy to work with you to obtain certification in your particular state




Can your agency host this course?


Your Instructors

Scott Savage | Founder of Savage Training Group

Scott Savage is a recognized expert in the response to non-criminal barricades. Scott is an experienced law enforcement officer who has not only commanded these types of incidents in the field, but also trains officers all over California and beyond on how to do the same. His study of the subject has included gathering response protocols from agencies both in and outside of California. Scott is a dynamic speaker who is passionate about bringing this important information to the law enforcement community.

More about Scott

Donald Anderson
As a Police Lieutenant in the busy city of San Francisco and the Executive Officer of a 40-officer crisis negotiation team, Donald Anderson certainly has the experience and qualifications to be an instructor. But experience alone isn’t enough. Donald is passionate about teaching cops.

More about Donald

John Morris
John Morris recently retired as a Lieutenant from the Winston-Salem Police Department, an agency of 500 officers located in North Carolina. His 27 years of service include over 20 years in SWAT as well as years in Patrol and Special Operations. He holds a National Instructor Certification through the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training. John’s goal is to help officers throughout the country save lives through a superior command of the law and a proper application of tactics.

More about John

What our students are saying:

“Two days after taking this course, I was the on-duty Sergeant when a male, cut his own neck and barricaded inside his apartment. His wife and two children were unable to escape. I immediately thought about your class and formed a React Team, who was able to rescue the wife and kids through a window. The whole time, I continuously reviewed your class in my mind. Although I’ve dealt with these situations before, I felt very confident in my leadership and decision making. I was even complimented by the Lieutenant who arrived. Thanks for the great class!”

— Sgt. J. Ruttschow, Monterey PD (CA)

“Every officer at every agency needs to attend this class! It should have been covered in the academy but sadly it isn’t.”

— K9 Officer Ty Clark, Boise PD (ID)

“Attend this course! It’s by far the best course I have attended, and it can help you and your agency survive these types of calls.”

— Sgt. Rodney Cancio, Fresno PD CIT Unit (CA)

“Real world scenarios with solutions plus case law create a great learning environment. I highly recommend for any officer!”

— Lt. Daniel Wagner, Florida Highway Patrol

“This course brings clarity to a confusing and complex issue.”

— Ofc. A.M., Santa Clara County Law Enforcement Agency, (CA)

"Highly suggest for patrolmen, supervisors and administrators. This course really gets you to think about alternative methods for response and when to disengage."

— Lt. Mike Edwards, St. Peters PD (MO)

“After attending I am more prepared and confident. To anyone on the fence about attending, I would highly encourage they do, especially if they are a supervisor or above.”

— Lt. Jose Cardoza, Santa Clara County SO (CA)

“Instructor Donald Anderson and Savage Training Group do a great job of explaining the legal, moral, and policy obligations that officers face in a non-criminal barricade incident. They provide a framework for response/disengagement/re-engagement that can work for any agency, regardless of size.”

— Sgt. Evan Wells, Melbourne PD (FL)

“My favorite part of the course was the disengagement decision-making model. This is a “must-see” class for any supervisor!”

— Sgt. Pete Beninger, Mountain View PD (CA)

"After attending the course, we used it and were able to explain it to our command staff. They agree with our decision (to disengage)!"

— Ofc. George Velez - Pembroke Pines PD (FL)

“This course was engaging and thought provoking because of the instructor’s style. Very useful resources were provided, and I am now more prepared to handle these types of calls.”

— Lt. T. Lera, Santa Clara County SO (CA)

“After attending I feel confident and educated. I would tell anyone who is on the fence about attending that this is the best course I have ever attended.”

— Dep. Sami Medina, Santa Cruz County SO (CA)

“Before attending, I was uncomfortable about what would happen to the family or neighbors if they were harmed after we walked away. I now have a better understanding of the special relationship and detrimental reliance doctrine.”

— Sgt. W. Burnett, Santa Cruz County SO (CA)

Realistic De-escalation & Tactical Withdrawal Training

Most every police agency is searching for de-escalation training for law enforcement. But the best agencies want training that isn’t just “check the box” training. This course delivers! Instead of vague philosophical notions about de-escalation, this course presents specific guidance that your officers can put to use immediately. Looking for meaningful tactical withdrawal training or mental health crisis response training? This course will give your officers and supervisors specific tools they can use to save lives and prevent liability.

Target Audience

The target audience for this course are:

  • Patrol Officers and Field Supervisors – When it comes to de-escalation training for law enforcement, your front-line personnel need the best decision-making tools.
  • Hostage and Crisis Negotiators – There is huge need for advanced training courses for hostage negotiators and this course delivers.
  • Law Enforcement Policy Makers – Students in this course receive immediate access to our collection of the best non-criminal barricade policies from across the US.
  • Law Enforcement Dispatchers and Call Takers – Liability often attaches when promises are made to an individual. Public Safety Communications staff need to know what to avoid saying to a caller before the police arrive. Without this training, your call takers may be triggering the “special relationships” doctrine and not even know it.

The reason this course is ideal for police dispatchers and call takers is simply this; liability often attaches when promises are made to an individual. Public Safety Communications staff need to know what to avoid saying to a caller before the police arrive. Without this training, your call takers may be triggering the “special relationships” doctrine and not even know it.

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