Require Police Officer Training in De-escalation

Require Police Officer Training in De-escalation

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Altaira Hatton started this petition to Police Departments

 

Police departments need mandatory de-escalation training for every new officer, and every 3 years. Training should be provided by an existing community mediation or conflict resolution non-profit, or by an existing nationally recognized community mediation or conflict resolution non-profit.

 

De-escalation is a skill set which enables anyone to lower the level of intensity of an interaction. It is a primary technique used by British police, with less than 1 in 20 armed. It’s also part of practical police training in Scotland, Switzerland, New Zealand and Canada.  

 

In the US there were more than 4,400 individuals shot in Officer Involved Shootings between 2010 and 2016, according to VICE. Police kill nearly 1000 people per year.(Fryer, 1)

 

Police are also losing their lives unnecessarily.

“We rely on the police force to serve as the first line of defense against crime, and some officers lose their lives in the line of duty. In 2010, 56 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed in the line of duty, and 72 were killed in accidents. From 2001 through 2010, 23% of officers who were killed were involved in arrest situations at the time, 22% were involved in ambush situations or traffic stops, and 14% were responding to disturbance calls (FBI 2010).“ (Leon-Guerrero, 354)

 

Compare this with 23 fatalities in the British police department, most vehicle related, and 25 fatal shootings by them in the same time period. (BBC) Our police act defensively, and sometimes offensively, because they feel at risk. And the tools we have provided them, until now, have been tools of force. British police are safer because they have been given more tools to use.

 

De-escalation training can also promote community relationships between the public and police, shifting the biases of both groups.

“[..]Research has also indicated that when citizens believe that they are treated fairly, they tend to grant police more legitimacy and are more likely to comply with police (Stoutland 2001) (Leon-Guerrero, 355)

Feelings of fair treatment are a product of predictability and communication, essential outcomes of de-escalation training.

 

De-escalation training will promote safety, community partnerships, and communication skills for all involved. By utilizing community based non-profits instead of corporate police training packages, police officers and departments will build support and partnerships with their communities, and trainers will learn the needs, stresses, and job requirements of the officers, tailoring their trainings accordingly.

 

We know change is needed. Now we know what to change.

 

https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/fryer/files/fryer_police_aer.pdf

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-19634164

Social Problems: Community, Policy, and Social Action Fifth Edition by Anna Leon-Guerrero

 

 

 

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