Support The Police Training and Independent Review Act of 2017
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In 2016, research comparing minimum training hours mandated by states for police and cosmetologists revealed a shocking disparity. A police officer, who has enormous power over people’s lives, is required to have only a fraction of the training required of someone working as a professional hair stylist.
There are no federally mandated training minimums for our nation’s police. Each state has some training requirements but these require less hours than cosmetologists, electricians, or plumbers.
My name is Randy Shrewsberry and I am the Executive Director of The Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform. I’ve spent nearly three decades working in the justice system, first as a police officer and later a forensics investigator in the private sector.
Throughout my career I had the opportunity to attend four basic training academies in three states. Though my training overwhelmingly taught me how to protect myself from injury or death, I found that I was ineptly prepared for the complexities of criminality, human behavior, implicit bias, and mental health crisis. Training left me feeling as if I was a preparing as a soldier for war, instead of as a peace officer to protect and serve my community.
The Police Training and Independent Review Act of 2017 is new legislation that would encourage states to provide training to law enforcement officers on understanding ethnic and racial bias and interacting with disabled or mentally ill people. It would also incentivize States to enact laws requiring the independent investigation and prosecution of the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers.
I was shocked to learn that a friend who was a cosmetologist was required by the state to receive twice the amount of training as I did as a police officer. I learned that this is consistently true in every state. In addition, some officers receive no on-the-job training beyond classroom and tactical training, and there is little oversight or review. The State of Hawaii has no training requirements for their police officers.
There are even 23 states that allow officers to delay their basic training for, on average, one year. Every 7 hours, police will kill a citizen, disproportionately black or brown and more than a fourth who are in a mental health crisis. These are not metrics by which anyone can credibly say the system is working.
Please sign my petition asking Congress to pass The Police Training and Independent Review Act of 2017.
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