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Training Police as Guardians, Not Warriors

Posted on in Criminal Defense

police training, guardians, Illinois criminal defense attorneyEvery few weeks, it seems, a new report or viral video of police-related violence against a criminal suspect takes over the public consciousness. It could be a shooting, allegations of excessive force, or even a death that creates major controversy in the headlines regarding the role of law enforcement and the factors that contribute to dangerous situations. In response to major concerns, an alternative method for training police officers is beginning to gain traction again, focusing on law enforcement’s role as protective guardians, rather than as conquering warriors.

Controlling Conflict

The effort has been underway in the Pacific Northwest for the last three years, as police recruits undergo such training at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission. The Commission provides a different atmosphere than one might expect: no boot camp environment and no exercises focused on using weapons or violence to force a suspect to submit. Sue Rahr, executive director of the program, pointed out, "In most situations, it’s better if officers know how to de-escalate, calm things down, slow down the action."

Staggering Numbers

The Washington Post reports that law enforcement officers in the United State have shot and killed more than 900 people this year. This does not account for other deaths that may have occurred as the result of other violence or restraining techniques. By comparison, police in the United Kingdom have killed only 51 since 1920. Even taking into account the population disparity, there is little question that the difference in approaches to law enforcement is part of the equation.  Of course, much stricter gun control laws in Europe play a role as well.

Opposing Viewpoints

Not everyone involved with law enforcement is sold on the idea that guardian-style policing should be the primary point of emphasis for new officers. "We should go out there and expect something bad will happen and watch for it," said Alexis Artwohl, consultant to an international association of police trainers. "If we are not paying attention, we could die." The kill-or-be-killed mentality is seen by many to be a necessary element of law enforcement in this country today.

"There is a war going on for the soul of policing in America," said Samuel Walker, a national police expert, speaking about the conflicting guardian and warrior philosophies. "The outcome is uncertain."

If you have been the victim of overly-aggressive police activity, contact an experienced Elgin criminal defense attorney today. Attorney Brian J. Mirandola is committed to helping you protect your rights when you are accused of a crime and will work hard toward a favorable outcome. Call 847-488-0889 to schedule your free consultation today.

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/investigative/2015/12/10/new-style-of-police-training-aims-to-produce-guardians-not-warriors/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/us-police-shot-more-people-dead-last-month-than-british-officers-did-in-95-years-a6769316.html

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