Police officers have a professional duty to protect and serve the community where they work. All too often, the personal prejudices and fears of individual officers impact the way that they treat people in their community for the worse.
Officers can let their internal biases, like racial prejudice, impact how they perform their jobs. For example, officers may be more likely to use force against certain people than against others because of their unacknowledged internal biases. Fear can lead to officers considering even basic movements or actions as a threat to their well-being that necessitates a violent response.
All too often, police departments don’t invest in training to help officers interact better with the public, acknowledge their internal biases and de-escalate situations until someone winds up hurt or killed by a member of the department.
De-escalation training focuses on calming people and nonlethal options
There are multiple steps to properly de-escalating a situation. The first usually involves trying to calmly and rationally communicate with the individual at the center of the situation. If such communication is ineffective, officers may then consider the use of physical force.
De-escalation training means that officers get trained to reach for a taser instead of their gun or otherwise attempt to use violence only as a last resort. Sadly, this important form of training often only occurs after officers have already left someone hurt or taken a life through the unnecessary escalation of a situation.
Those who have suffered police brutality during an arrest or who have lost a loved one needlessly may have to take legal action because of the harm they experienced. Doing so may be the only way to push local law enforcement agencies to get more training and charge their internal policies about the use of force.