Police De-escalation: Reducing Force and Building Community Trust
De-escalation procedures are critical in avoiding violent encounters between police officers and civilians. This panel of experts, officials and activists will discuss de-escalation tactics and the use of force by police, especially in situations involving people experiencing mental illness, trauma or distress. The conversation will explore when and how police, including the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, use de-escalation methods to avoid the use of force. The panel will discuss the psychiatric basis for de-escalation practices, the impact of police encounters on victims and families, and community responses.
This program will be held in the Historic Courtroom.
Korey Tillman is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is conducting an ethnographic project that examines how bodies are policed and controlled. He analyzes activist organizations and homelessness in Las Vegas as empirical cases studies. His research interests include inequality, culture, poverty, policing and qualitative methods. In 2019, Korey was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to support his research.
Dr. Melissa Piasecki
Dr. Melissa Piasecki is a professor of psychiatry and the executive associate dean at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. Her specialty is forensic psychiatry. She earned her bachelor’s degree and her M.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She completed her psychiatry residency at the University of Vermont and her forensic psychiatry fellowship at the University of Hawaii. She teaches psychiatry, the neuroscience of addiction and forensic psychiatry to medical students, medical residents and legal professionals. Her research interests include the measurement and management of implicit bias in medical professionals, faculty development and clinical outcomes.
Nissa Tzun is the project co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Forced Trajectory Project. She is a multimedia artist specializing in illustration, graphic and web design, photography, film, public relations and investigative journalism. In 2009, She founded FTP, an independent media outlet that began as a long-term documentary project illuminating the narratives of families affected by police violence. Tzun is an independent media consultant for Mass Liberation Project and a communications fellow with Community Change. She is a two-time Davis-Putter Scholar and is currently pursuing her master’s in social work and journalism and media studies at UNLV.
Captain Nichole Splinter has been with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department since September 2000. She has worked in a variety of assignments, including field training officer, Community Oriented Policing sergeant and lieutenant of operations for the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center. In 2016, she was promoted to captain and placed in charge of the Internal Affairs Bureau. In February 2019, she took over as captain of the Internal Oversight and Constitutional Policing Bureau. She is responsible for the review process for all issues surrounding the use of deadly force. She is a graduate of Nevada State College, where she received her bachelor’s degree in public administration-law enforcement. She has begun work toward her master’s in international relations. Captain Splinter is also an Air Force veteran.
Moderator: Addie C. Rolnick
Addie C. Rolnick is a professor of law at the UNLV Boyd School of Law, where she is a co-facilitator of UNLV’s Program on Race, Gender and Policing. She also teaches Criminal Law, Civil Rights, Critical Race Theory, Federal Indian Law and a practicum in Tribal Law. Rolnick’s research focuses on the role of race and gender in the administration of criminal and juvenile justice; self-defense laws; Native youth and juvenile justice; equal protection-based challenges to indigenous rights; and tribal jurisdiction.