Tell Congress to Require Police to be Trained
Too frequently we witness reports of unarmed citizens being killed by the police, or of police officers being ambushed by citizens. These tragic incidents point to a variety of systemic issues and failures in policing, especially in regard to the impact an officer's training has on his or her performance when making life or death decisions.
Failures of police training impact both police officers and the public. When an officer is killed every 10 days and three citizens are killed by police each day, it points toward a profound failure in the way we are training and teaching our law enforcement officers.
Most would agree that better training must be a part of addressing criminal justice reform. Adequate, relevant, and up-to-date education make us all safer.
first they must be trained
Before we can improve training, however, we must first require police officers to be trained. Training delays or deferments that allow officers to work before attending an academy is not good for the public or the officer.
All of us should have grave concerns that there are states who have empowered officers to kill their fellow citizens without a modicum of basic training.
This is unconscionable.
No other profession is granted this kind of regulatory flexibility. Who among us would want to see a doctor practice medicine after attending medical school for a year?
Who would be comfortable sitting in a dentist's chair and being told that, due to staff shortages, you will be attended to by a hygienist who's been trained in less time than is normally considered safe to do the job?
Would we place a firefighter in harms way before giving them the training to ensure their safety?
Of course not.
We must acknowledge the unique risks that officers often face, despite police deaths being near historic lows. There are times when police must run toward events that the rest of us are running from. This coupled with the responsibility to make life-altering decisions for us all only emphasizes the importance of having a well trained professional, well-prepared and ready, before he or she is allowed to work the streets.
Arguments of fiscal restraints and a decline in recruitment cannot be seen as an acceptable justification. Rules and regulations exist that require education BEFORE most people are allowed to begin their jobs. The police should be the same.
Immediately pass legislation to rescind the outdated, illogical, and unsafe regulations that allow police officers or any person with the authority to arrest, detail or kill before being trained.