Police Executive Research Forum
says recruits lack instruction in
communication, crisis intervention
A well-known think tank has concluded that training for law enforcement recruits “presents an immediate crisis for policing,” The Washington Post reported.
The system responsible for placing law enforcement personnel in U.S. cities is “built to train officers quickly and cheaply,” according to the Police Executive Research Forum.
“When police have faced a crisis, the conventional recommendation is inevitably more training,” said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the forum. “The reality is that more training may not necessarily be the answer to what the issue is.”
Amid a nationwide upsurge of protests against police brutality and racial discrimination in recent years, the analysis concluded that recruits become police officers lacking vital communication skills and crisis intervention tools, The Washington Post reports. State commissions usually set standards for training, creating “vast differences” between various localities.
Colleges and technical schools operate a majority of the estimated 700 or 800 training academies in the nation, said the story. Local police agencies operate a smaller number.
Academies often prepare their recruits for dangerous confrontations, potentially against armed suspects, but the Police Executive Research Forum says it is also vital that officers develop skills to engage with the communities they work in.
The forum offered recommendations, including national standards for agencies to devote more funds to training “with a special emphasis on racial justice issues,” so that recruits can learn how history can “shape perception of the police today.”
In the U.S., recruits usually train for approximately 20 weeks, while in Japan the training may last for 21 months and up to three years in some European countries, according to the report.
“Look, it’s expensive to train someone for a year,” Wexler said. “But it’s far more expensive to not train them properly and see a situation handled badly. It can absolutely devastate a department and a city.”