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Friday, August 6, 2021

Police Training in Washington state.

Between my years in the Army and my time in law enforcement, I have no question of the necessity of training in law enforcement. Initial, continual, realistic, and stressful. When I was a field trainer (and FT supervisor), a goal was to make rookies uncomfortable. Welcome to the job, you will be dealing with people in very bad situations. They don't look like you, sound like you, have different backgrounds and upbringings. Deal with it.

Now I found this article a bit off putting, if you will. I doubt the writer has any experience in law enforcement. 

'71 gets a gun': Graduates of Washington's police training academy unprepared to patrol streets, law enforcement leaders say

          Tami Abdollah, USA TODAY 

There's a tale as old as time in law enforcement: The first day on the beat, new officers are told by training officers to disregard everything they learned in basic training because it has little to do with the realities of policing.

In Washington, that may very well be true.

For at least a decade, the state's law enforcement academy has trained new sheriff's deputies and police officers according to standards largely not based on evidence or research-based best practices, with inconsistent instruction and tests that fail to ensure students have learned what they need to do their jobs. That's based on a 2019 review conducted on behalf of the state agency that runs the academy...

...Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said deputies routinely come out of the four-month academy not knowing how to write reports that will hold up in court, unable to communicate with people, and with little understanding of how to handle someone having a mental health crisis.

We used to say, "70 and a badge!" But no one has ever believed a civilian is put through a 4-6 month academy and is ready on day one to patrol by themselves. I'm sorry Ms. Abdollah, not true. Why do you believe that?

I've been employed with two police agencies, one a major city police department, and the other a smaller constable's office. The police department has its own 6.5 month academy, the constable's office (like many smaller offices) hired graduates of university police training programs, or people with previous law enforcement experience. But both had a field training program, were they were paired with senior officers, taught how to take what they learned in the classroom, and apply it on the streets. 

Sheriff Knezovich, I feel your pain. I take it you have a field training program. Is it failing your agency? Do you need improve it? Fine, get on that mission. Remember, you are in charge, never forget it. 

Poor training, decades in the making

In 2018, the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, which runs the state's law enforcement academy and certifies officers, hired North Carolina-based FORCE Concepts Inc. to review and revise its basic training curriculum.

The company, founded by Jon Blum, a former cop and nationally esteemed curriculum developer, discovered serious deficiencies in what recruits were taught.

Some learning objectives contradicted best practices or were too advanced for rookies, like the differences between various types of homicides, Blum said.

Meanwhile, the academy taught key skills such as communication so broadly that it didn't account for people of different races, cultures or ages, or those with mental or sensory impairments....

Basic tenants of the highest level of crime are "too advanced" for rookie cops who will be handling these scenes on the street? You are joking I pray. If a 21 year old man or woman cannot understand the difference between murder, homicide by abuse, manslaughter, excusable homicide, or justifiable homicide, I don't want them on the street with a gun. And the fact someone has to challenge you on this brings your qualifications into question. 

But I think I see the template here:

...Washington is emblematic of the problems with law enforcement training across the U.S, experts said. Because there are no national standards for training at the 18,000 departments in the country, requirements vary widely, said Randy Shrewsberry, executive director of the Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform.

Gregory Gilbertson, a police practices expert based in Washington, has encouraged attorneys suing police departments in the state to consider whether the commission is liable for the officers it trains...

..."The officers are killing people or shooting people or using other levels of force based upon their state training," Gilbertson said. "Well then, surrender your curriculum, surrender your course outlines, your lesson plans, your lecture notes, your PowerPoints."

In other words, the author and the lawyer want a one size fits all approach to training of police over thousands of police agencies, from New York City to Mayberry AZ. I might remind these people anything the feds get involved with gets screwed up (See education, health care, energy, etc). And it's a  know fact the left in this country wants to federalize police agencies in the US. 

That brings up a simple question. Are the feds up to that? Show me Minneapolis MN, I'll show you Ruby Ridge. You bring up any questionable use of force by local agencies, I can show you multiple examples of federal overreach. And lack of accountability. The sniper who shot Ms. Weaver still has not been held to account criminally (although the federal government settled a law suit). I wonder why the usual suspects are not concerned about that? I think we know the answer. 

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