Police and law enforcement officers play a critical role within our communities. Everyday they help people in need and keep citizens safe. Everyday they also kill an average of 3 people nationwide.

We believe officers can play a vital role in communities they serve without killing the people they are sworn to protect. It begins with proper training for the actual problems officers face, not on perceived and rare threats.

the problems with police training

TRAINING DELAYS – FULL AUTHORITY – NO TRAINING

This is one of the most alarming aspects of training regulation, allowing officers to be trained AFTER a police officer begins working.

Currently, there are 23 states that allow new officers to defer training. This means new, untrained officers have full authority to detain, arrest, incarcerate or even kill without ever attending basic police training.

MONTHS POLICE CAN HAVE POLICE POWER WITHOUT ATTENDING TRAINING

Among the states that allow deferments, many permit officers up to one year of untrained employment before being mandated to attend basic training. Some states permit only a few months of deferment, while others are ambiguous with requirements such as “next available training”.

However, almost all states with deferment policies allow for extensions beyond the first year. In some states deferment extensions can last up to 3 years, meaning an officer is fully authorized to work for years without any formal training.

NOT ENOUGH TRAINING

 

average MANDATED Continued Education hours

AVERAGE MANDATED basic training hours

AVERAGE MANDATED field training hours

For a variety of historical and constitutional reasons, there is no federally mandated training minimums for our nation’s law enforcement officers. This creates a patchwork of training requirements that vary state by state. Minimums can range from 7 months of basic training in Maryland to zero required basic training in Hawaii.

Field training is often required by local police agencies, but without state mandated minimum hours or standards, departments can set guidelines that are inadequate. This allows officers to work without receiving on-the-job-training and lacking in any oversight by either the legislators or the training commission.

Reserves and Special Police

Built into most state systems are special categories of law enforcement officers who often receives considerably less mandated training than their “sworn” counterparts but still exercise full police powers. This occurs within jurisdictions that include state and local parks, schools and colleges, hospitals, housing authorities, government buildings, and transportation venues such as airports and subways.

It is a rarely publicized fact that police and governmental agencies rely regularly on Special Jurisdiction Police, many of whom are volunteers, for law enforcement. While some states require all law enforcement officers, regardless of their classification, to meet the minimum qualifications and training of their fellow, more traditional counterpart’s, this is the overwhelming exception.

robert_bates_mugshot-tcsdTo witness the abject failures of inadequate and improper training for reserve officers, one needs to look no further than the 2015 killing of Eric Harris by 73-year-old insurance broker Robert Bates, the untrained volunteer and wealthy political donor who served as a Tulsa County Sheriffs Reserve Deputy. This unpaid law enforcement officer shot Mr. Harris to death with a .357 revolver when he mistook his own gun for a Taser while effectuating an arrest subsequent to a foot chase.

Bates was convicted of manslaughter in 2016.