By: Fahmi Elhaj
Since I was a kid I’ve always had guidelines to follow and with those guidelines there were people to enforce them. As a resident of the United States I have laws to follow and with those laws there are people to enforce them. The people that enforces these laws are meant to make sure people follow the laws, protect others from people that can’t follow the laws, and handle situations that an-ordinary civilians can’t. These people are trained to end our fears, but instead it seems they create more fear. Why should I fear people that are trained to protect me? It’s because they are not trained well enough, therefore the United States should federally mandate de-escalation training.
The fear I have that one day I’ll be accused of a small crime that is punishable by no more than a small $100 fine, builds with growing incident of small crimes leading to fatal deaths. Incidents such as Jason Harrison, a 38-year-old man suffering from schizophrenic shot for wielding a screwdriver for a disturbance call; Eric Garner, a 43-year-old man chocked to death by police officers not listening to his warning of not being able to breathe for sealing a pack of cigarettes; Brandon Stanly, a 30-year-old man shot at a store while having his hands up because of a search warrant. A reasoning that was said by some officers for the cause of these incidents was claimed in John Gross article, Judge, Jury, and Executioner, claimed that the Supreme Court “failed to provide law enforcement with any meaningful guidance on when the use of deadly force is appropriate” (Gross 156). It seems commonsense is not an option to them in situations such as those. The fact that the United States officers need this training is becoming more and more obvious and I don’t think I’m the only person that realizes that. Covering the situation doesn’t help end it either such as the update on the White House website where Justin Miller, in his article Trump’s WhiteHouse.Gov Disappears Civil Rights, Climate Change, LGBT Rights claims, “The page of civil rights was replaced with a page entitled “Standing Up for Our Law Enforcement Community” that replaced concerns with how police act with a demand for more cops.” (Miller Para 2). does not solve the problem nor does it blind us from the fact there is a problem occurring.
The situation of low trained officer was recognized and was even given money to improve training in 2015. Harvard Laws, stated, “President Obama announced $263 million in federal funding to allow law enforcement agencies “to purchase body-worn cameras and improve training” (Harvard 1797). Although it’s not that officers need more training on what they are doing because how they are being trained now is still leading to unnecessary deaths. Officers need “de-escalation training” because as stated by Davis Griffith, in his article De-escalation Training: Leaning to Back Off, “A good de-escalation training program includes ways to improve communication skills, discussion of how to assess a subject’s situation, how to know when you need backup, and proven officer safety tactics” (Griffith Par. 7). These are the types of training that I want the people that are sworn to protect me to learn. For those officers to have the power to be able end my life with a finger they need to understand how to handle multiple different situations. They need to understand the difference between an encounter that requires force and not always deadly force. A situation where someone holding a screwdriver is not as threatening as someone holding a gun, and thus should not be treated with the same forceful option of shoot to kill. The de-escalation process is not meant to stop officers form not using force at all, because if the suspect is attempting to hurt the officer they can use force but it still doesn’t mean the only way to handle the situation is with a shoot to kill decision. Officer are equipped with multiple defensive equipment’s such as Taser, mace, and baton that can be utilized. Can humans make mistakes? Yes, but for a mistake to happened over and over means there is problem and something needs to be done about it.
The requirement of de-escalation training is highly needed in the United States. Blaming others will not help to end the fact there is several unnecessary deaths due to officers using excessive force or shooting unnecessary shots. Attempting to cover the fact there is a problem only reveal that there is a problem and there is no solution for it yet. With de-escalation training it will teach officer how to better handle different encounters ending the problem of unnecessary fatal encounter. The fate of other was not meant to be put in a trigger happy hand.
Griffith, D. (2016, March 2). De-escalation Training: Leaning to Back Off. Retrieved February 13, 2017
Gross, J. P. (2016, April 1). Judge, Jury, and Executioner. The Excessive Use of Deadly Force by Police Officers. Retrieved February 13, 2017
Harvard L. (2015, April 1). Considering Police Body Cameras. Retrieved. February 13, 2017
Miller J. (2017, January 20). Trump’s WhiteHouse.Gov Disappears Civil Rights, Climate Change, LGBT Rights. Retrieved February 13, 2017