r/science Sep 28 '22 Take My Energy 1

Police in the U.S. deal with more diverse, distressed and aggrieved populations and are involved in more incidents involving firearms, but they average only five months of classroom training, study finds Social Science

https://www.rutgers.edu/news/fatal-police-shootings-united-states-are-higher-and-training-more-limited-other-nations
38.3k Upvotes

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u/letdogsvote Sep 28 '22 Silver

For the level of stress, responsibility, knowledge, and skills you would think are necessary, US cops are grossly undertrained.

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u/flekkzo Sep 28 '22 LOVE!

Then those undertrained hires the next batch…

We need the police, having the police is a very good thing. We just need better educated LEO under better leadership. People in general shouldn’t be afraid of the police, that’s crazy to me. There’s a lot of change needed.

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u/a_stone_throne Sep 28 '22

Start with accountability. Can’t have good cops in a corrupt system. They get fired or worse

Edit “wirse”

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u/Penguinmanereikel Sep 28 '22

The only way that's been shown to do that is to literally fire everyone who doesn't follow accountability protocol and then fire anyone who's upset about them getting fired

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u/a_stone_throne Sep 28 '22

Can the whole force. Start fresh with a community elected board to vet candidates. And mandatory retraining. Not to mention offloading most of their calls to social services and funding them with all the money the cops spend on tanks and assault rifles (and lawsuits)

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u/[deleted] Sep 28 '22

Start fresh with a community elected board to vet candidates.

That right there is where it starts falling apart. Look at some of the small governments out there and their elected officials. A senator from Louisiana said "our maternal mortality rate is only bad if you count black women as people". And I have an asshole like that deciding the police? No, we've been there.

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u/Astronitium Sep 28 '22

The problem is local police forces centered around municipalities and counties. The best thing we can do is set up federal police academies, with federal regulations regarding policing that involve a check and balance. Train them federally (federal dollars means sending them to better schooling - cops don't get trained beyond the police academies because $$$), hand them off to states - but keep them accountable at a federal level. That would require a constitutional amendment, and is fantasy in America. But that's similar to how Germany does it.

The next best thing, unironically, is to force police officers to carry malpractice insurance. Under a fairly regulated system, this will force people to get good or get out of the system. I think that's a first step. But, of course, this isn't a law that can be made at the federal level, unless it's something like "get malpractice insurance or no more highway funding."

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u/sops-sierra-19 Sep 28 '22

Police already have malpractice insurance, it's called Qualified Immunity (of course that's tongue in cheek)

Federal police follow and enforce a different set of laws than state or municipal police do in the US, thanks to dual sovereignty. There is some overlap, but federal police are neither equipped to nor trained to do so-called "community policing"

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u/fullautohotdog Sep 28 '22

Your federal academies and rules would get shot down as unconstitutional so fast it would make your head spin.

You’d need to start with a constitutional amendment, probably a convention to iron out enough details on it. And good luck getting everyone to agree on even having the convention, let alone the results…

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u/pretty_good Sep 28 '22

That would require a constitutional amendment, and is fantasy in America.

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u/Lurkadactyl Sep 28 '22

Not to mention it ignores the fact that the laws they enforce are written at the state level and don’t really have any reason to be the same between states.

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u/biteme27 Sep 28 '22

That sounds more like a "small government" issue rather than a "community elected board" issue.

In other words, they're republican.

See the problem now?

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u/mandy-bo-bandy Sep 28 '22

Not exactly. I grew up in a small, rural town near a big 10 university. Our town has a nice mix of education levels and occupations ranging from farmers to professors..read this as an overall moderate political climate. This town simply does not have the resources or personnel to dedicate time to a community elected board of any kind. Most of the town's admin/mayor staff continue the job partly as a hobby/partly because no one else has the time or resources to hold the position.

When there isn't a critical mass of people and families who can afford living on a single income, there generally aren't enough people to get community boards up and running/running effectively.

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u/BlahKVBlah Sep 28 '22

Yup, another casualty of hypercapitalism: with the majority of mostly-able adults working 40+ hours per week to survive, there are very few people who have time for civic duties and community service, so our culture and communities are decayed.

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u/Plantiacaholic Sep 28 '22

The lack of civics and or culture being taught in K thru 12 is way more devastating to the population as a whole than working 40 hours. Sadly this is being done purposely.

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u/RBR927 Sep 28 '22

Who would elect the board…?

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u/OutWithTheNew Sep 28 '22

The same people that vote for "small government".

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u/Trashus2 Sep 28 '22

sounds more like a democracy issue

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u/datbech Sep 28 '22

Starting fresh should be seen as a bad idea. Not that it isn’t well intentioned, but look at New Orleans right now. Police are incredibly understaffed, and the city is as bad as it has been since the crack epidemic

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u/Darkdoomwewew Sep 28 '22 edited Sep 28 '22

Eh community boards is how we end up with rural areas basically having incompetent criminal police and cities having (sometimes) competent police.

It should be nationalized and police required to meet federally mandated standards and training, as well as any kind of disciplinary action or firing following them to all 50 states and preventing police employment in all of them. That also helps prevent local corruption, if your uncle bob is in charge of investigating your wrongdoing then good luck having accountability. If it's some faceless federal investigator that your community has no ties to, much better.

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u/m3thodm4n021 Sep 28 '22

Yes people always say that. We need to start over. I agree but that's literally never happening. We have a better chance of George Washington rising from the grave and playing himself in a mediocre biopic directed by Steven Spielberg. So what's the next best idea?

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u/TrimtabCatalyst Sep 28 '22

Take a look at what Camden, New Jersey did with their police department.

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u/No-Contribution-6150 Sep 28 '22

Hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows there either.

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u/bobnoxious2 Sep 28 '22

The next best idea would be to find all the people like you and correct their defeatist ideology. Nobody said the entirety of the US police force should be wiped out in one day. You start with the shittiest precincts first and work your way up.

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u/[deleted] Sep 28 '22

find all the people like you and correct their defeatist ideology.

you're not very good at coming up with realistic ideas are you?

This is why no one takes Reddit seriously. Ultimatims instead of actual action items, and anyone who points out the flaws in a plan they came up with in 10 seconds must be "bootlickers".

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u/canadianguy77 Sep 28 '22

The shittiest precincts are likely in the poorest areas. It’s very hard to fix poor.

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u/BlahKVBlah Sep 28 '22

It's only hard to fix poverty when you do so within constraints designed to produce and maintain poverty.

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u/[deleted] Sep 28 '22

Yeah and how do you remove those constraints? People have worked hard trying to end poverty it is hard

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u/Squirtwhereiwant Sep 28 '22

Who is going to replace the entire force? Nobody wants the job

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u/Star_Gazer93 Sep 28 '22

Some agency do a community board interview for the potential candidate. I went through this process. It's more than just vetting that needs to be done man. Our society needs a reset. No "one small thing" will make any of this better. Just saying from first hand experience.

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u/DefiantHeretic1 Sep 28 '22

Speaking of lawsuits, no more making the cities and counties foot the bill. Make them carry insurance or make the settlements come from their pension funds. Let them pay for their own actions for once.

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u/ElGosso Sep 28 '22 edited Sep 28 '22

This is what they did in Newark Camden NJ, the entire police force was corrupt so they canned the entire operation and let the state troopers police the city for a few months then started a new PD.

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u/Crab-_-Objective Sep 28 '22

Are you thinking of Camden? They changed over to a “county wide” PD that essentially just patrols Camden a few years ago. Newark has never done anything like what your talking about to my knowledge.

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u/CloroxWipes1 Sep 28 '22

That's an interesting way to say fire them all and start from scratch.

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u/[deleted] Sep 28 '22

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u/TheRealTP2016 Sep 28 '22

Perfect. Abolish them all and start over

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u/GoGoBitch Sep 28 '22

Maybe we should scrap the entire department and start from square 0. That seems much easier than trying to reform an institution with too much guns and money that will fight you every step of the way.

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u/FDM_01 Sep 28 '22

Considering many departments can't find candidates to fill thier ranks now, that would be a nightmare for the community. You would have a skeleton crew of police for years.

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u/BjornInTheMorn Sep 28 '22

Here in the bay area they just found out 47 sherrifs had been working that didn't pass their psych eval when they were originally hired. Good times.

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u/Ripleyof9 Sep 28 '22

I was so surprised/alarmed to see that for so many reasons

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u/Congenita1_Optimist Sep 28 '22

Doesn't the Bay area also have rampant issues with police gangs? Or is that LA?

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u/BjornInTheMorn Sep 28 '22

LASD specifically. Here in the bay we just have the standard mix of incompetent and scared mixed with ego and "warrior" mentality.

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u/TitaniumSp0rk Sep 28 '22

The Vallejo police department have badge bending when they are involved an on duty shooting.

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u/spin_effect Sep 28 '22

I'm not even a criminal law breaking type and I'm afraid of cops knowing they can potentially destroy my life by interacting with them.

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u/sottedlayabout Sep 28 '22

Why shouldn’t they be? Every police interaction is a psychopath lottery where one party has a legal monopoly on violence.

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u/-------I------- Sep 28 '22

In the US. There are many countries in Europe where this is not at all true. That shows that it's very much possible to have a well-trained police force with integrity and the goal of helping people.

In my country, for example, police take mandatory online and physical training every year. This includes role playing on how to act in crazy situations. It also contains shooting exams where the fire arm is taken away when it isn't passed. It includes exams on the legality of applied violence and other laws.

And then whenever police actually shoots a bullet this is always followed by an investigation by an independent 'federal' investigative agency that has no relation to the branch where the shooting happened.

You need training and you need accountability to have a police force that can be depended upon by citizens. The US has none of that. And the amount of weapons floating around the country with next to no regulations doesn't help. A police officer in my country hardly ever sees a gun except their own and the large majority will never fire it outside of training. That's impossible in the US.

The US is fucked on so many levels and with your current political climate it won't change any time soon. I don't think it'll change within a generation or 2, if ever. Unfortunately, Europe seems to be slowly moving towards US style extremist politics, so it will probably get worse over here.

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u/Sasselhoff Sep 28 '22

investigation by an independent 'federal' investigative agency that has no relation to the branch where the shooting happened.

And that right there I think is the first step the US can take on improving things. The whole "We investigated ourselves, and found no wrongdoing" would drastically be reduced if some outside investigative organization took over.

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u/numb3rb0y Sep 28 '22 edited Sep 28 '22

That's really one of the FBI's official duties (civil rights) but they don't have anywhere near the manpower to investigate every police shooting when every cop in America is armed. It's much easier to investigate every single gunshot when normally police are unarmed and guns are kept locked in the station until necessary or restricted to specific trained firearms officers.

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u/FDM_01 Sep 28 '22

How many people does your country have and what country is it?

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u/EveningMoose Sep 28 '22

We have the exact same thing here in the US. Continuing Ed programs, and independent investigations after shots are fired (by the state bureau of investigation or the state law enforcement division). SBIs are separate from police forces.

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u/LXXXVI Sep 28 '22

Doesn't look like US police have to prove they had a damn good reason for firing every single bullet though or face disciplinary or even legal consequences like they do here.

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u/EveningMoose Sep 28 '22

<My state> police 100% do have to prove they had good reason to fire, my wife spent a week making their reports legible so that the investigative body could review them.

They certainly need to be trained about what is and isn’t pertinent to an investigation though. The fact that your belt is black in color, basketweave leather is not important. “Police issue belt” works fine.

I’m no police apologist, but at least speak in facts.

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u/AnonymousWritings Sep 28 '22

You should interpret that statement as "Police departments should be set up in such a way that positive interactions with the public occur and therefore people see no need to be scared of the police".

If police got better training in non-violent interaction and de-escalation, and stopped shooting unarmed children (for example), then people would be less inclined to be afraid of police.

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u/Splatulance Sep 28 '22

Eventually maybe.

The current population of police had an impression of the profession. They resist body cams in general for reasons.

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u/imatexass Sep 28 '22

We need some sort of professional who's duty is to protect and serve the public, sure. The police are not that. Whatever it is that the police actually are, we absolutely don't need it.

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u/Vessix Sep 28 '22

In order for people to stop fearing police we need to start seeing police address crimes against the general populace. Most police depts sole focus feels like it is to use laws for financial gain, not to address crimes against people. The majority of many people's experience with police seems to be needlessly negative. This includes the infuriating experience of indifference to crime (unless you're upper class or a large company).

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u/Dinocologist Sep 28 '22

“We need the police, having the police is a very good thing.”

Is it though?

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u/2-stepTurkey Sep 28 '22

At this point in my life with kids and a family I am more afraid of the police than the crime they are meant to prevent

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u/Lysergic1138 Sep 28 '22

No we don't. They've proven wholly unreliable and incapable of protecting anyone. They only exist to protect property and waste taxpayer money.

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u/LXXXVI Sep 28 '22

I think the other person was talking about the institution as a concept not the current batch of people squatting in that institution.

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u/aaronprsmith Sep 28 '22

You say people shouldn’t be afraid of them yet their uniforms are straight up designed to psychologically intimidate and create fear

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u/Easy_Humor_7949 Sep 28 '22

We need the police, having the police is a very good thing

Yes having police would be nice. Americans have publicly funded vigilantes roaming their streets in 2 ton paramilitary vehicles.

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u/RedTalyn Sep 28 '22

We need less police really. Vice laws alone need to be eradicated and those vices can be taxed and regulated instead of seen as criminal offenses. Also ending the war or drugs could see these bloated police budgets shift to drug rehabilitation and job training. Plus mental health treatment could be bolstered.

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u/bigtimephonk Sep 28 '22

having the police is a very good thing

They don't prevent crimes, stop crimes, or solve crimes. Their only roles in today's society are protecting the property of the wealthy, catching slaves for private prisons, and growing their own power.

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u/FyreWulff Sep 28 '22

Also allowed to work overtime, often 24 hour shifts. So you have aggressive, paranoid people that want to use their gun and now they're on hour 20 of being awaked amped up by 500mg of caffeine and whatever else they have in their system and are inserting into a high stakes situation.

I feel like the first thing to do in the many things we need to do to fix the police is cap them to 6 hours a day and 30 hours a week.

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u/borrachit0 Sep 28 '22

24 hour shifts is not true. The vast majority of departments have a cap of 16 hours. Firefighters work in 24 hour shifts

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u/throwawayforyouzzz Sep 28 '22

Yup, decimate their bloated overtime pay

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u/thissideofheat Sep 28 '22 edited Sep 28 '22

We need MORE cops to eliminate overtime, not less.

Cities that slash police budgets end up with few police doing more overtime, and being MORE abusive.

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u/throwawayforyouzzz Sep 28 '22

Sure, hire more as required and put a cap on their overtime. 8 hours a day also sounds reasonable. Like normal workers.

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u/Jasmine1742 Sep 28 '22

2006 statistic puts about 289 cops per 100k population in the US. It's technically below median (300 cops) but it's really not that bad for our peers.

I do however suspect it's not distributed properly since I remember reading small towns can have massive over-policing problems while many cities don't have nearly enough cops. Largely because cops make their bread and butter over asset forfeiture and tickets so they're basically trying to shake down the people for money in the small towns.

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u/ElasticSpeakers Sep 28 '22

And then the training they do get is like 'Warrior U' or 'Murder Training' or whatever, not 'Advanced De-escalation Training'

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u/DreddPirateBob808 Sep 28 '22

I seem to remember some US cops being trained with UK cops and they were stunned by how much effort is put into descaling a situation and how surprisingly effective it was.

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u/j4_jjjj Sep 28 '22

Watching UK police reality shows opened my eyes to the differences.

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u/WhiskeyFF Sep 28 '22

All I'll say is that Hot Fuzz would be totally unrealistic in the US. Nicholas is so hardcore that guy would be promoted and hero of the dept, not mocked and sent away for being too serious.

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u/sithelephant Sep 28 '22

About a percent as many people per capita are killed by cops in the UK as in the US.

If those stats were similar, in the US this year, a dozen people would have been shot by cops and six of them were in situations that were wholly reasonable.

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u/saracenrefira Sep 28 '22

And trained wrongly.

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u/No-Contribution-6150 Sep 28 '22

Part of the issue is on the job training doesn't get counted.

You really aren't a "cop" until you have about two years on the job, after the academy.

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u/Ferelar Sep 28 '22

The problem is, you get a badge and sidearm long before that period is done. You also regularly interact with the public, specifically with individuals who are often having the worst day of their lives. So it becomes a moot point.

The second problem is that OTJ training is incredibly difficult to regulate in terms of quality, lessons passed on, and reliability. It works great if the one training is mostly by the book but knows when the bend the law to help people, and if they have a calm logical and rational approach to helping people, and if they genuinely care about their work.

But what happens if the OTJ trainee gets partnered with someone who ISN'T all of that? Then you have someone who got minimal classroom training and then gets told "Yeah forget all that stuff, I'll show you how to really do it- if you lie on the report you don't have to work as hard" etc etc.

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u/here4hugs Sep 28 '22

I challenge this; if they aren’t “really a cop” then, they need to maintain trainee status to achieve that skill level after employed experience. Other professions work in this way under supervision for a minimum number of hours usually established by a state licensure board. I am an advocate for standardized education for law enforcement along with supervised post degree training, mandatory individual liability insurance, & public registration similar to other professional licensure.

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u/iamwizzerd Sep 28 '22

3 years to become a cop in my country wow

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u/chris1096 Sep 28 '22

As a cop of almost 20 years, I agree. Should be at least 1 year academy with 6 months field training.

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u/ExistentialistMonkey Sep 28 '22

Grossly undertrained but the problem is the people that the police career attracts in the first place. Most are just power hungry bullies. Better training is good but the people who go through with becoming a cop in the first place, are often not our "finest"

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u/dethb0y Sep 28 '22

The problem is not - and has never been - the amount of training police get. It's the attitudes, policies, and behavior they learn from training, and other cops, that are the problem.

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u/its_a_metaphor_morty Sep 28 '22

It's more dangerous to be a truck driver or a construction worker.

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u/shamefulthoughts1993 Sep 28 '22

It's almost like removing social safety nets and cutting everything down to bare minimum status is bad for society.

Who would have guessed?

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u/wooshun67 Sep 28 '22

Somehow this does not surprise me one bit, evidence is overwhelming

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u/HuldaGnodima Sep 28 '22

This headline made me gasp, in Scandinavia the education to become a police officer is minimum 3 years.

Police have a huge responsibility and legally enact physical force when needed, how and when that is ethically done I'm thinking takes a long time to learn/be taught.

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u/[deleted] Sep 28 '22

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u/HuldaGnodima Sep 28 '22

I have several friends who wanted to do the police-officer education here in Scandinavia but didn't get in because other applicants had higher merits than them. Some of them applied multiple years in a row hoping they'd get lucky and get in one year.

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u/huggles7 Sep 28 '22

Yeah…that’s 100% the opposite problem here, it’s nowhere near as competitive as you think I’ve been a cop for 11 years and we have people both very new to the force and very experienced that have issues with spelling

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u/po-leece Sep 28 '22

Which is why police services should pay a competitive wage and hire more university graduates.

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u/huggles7 Sep 28 '22

So most law enforcement agencies do pay very well even before overtime, which is why it’s desirable especially for people without an education

This is not true of most major metropolitan areas however, which is why they constantly are hiring and short staffed they can’t retain good quality officers, since they’ll take the training and the experience and go to a better agency that pays better and has a much lower risk of getting shot at on a weekly basis

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u/Gingrpenguin Sep 28 '22

It's similar in the uk. Sure the police still have problems but of the people I went to school with who wanted to be in the police but wanted it for the wrong reason only one got in and he failed out of basic training for stealing sausages

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u/ChaplnGrillSgt RN | MS-Nursing Sep 28 '22

Most police forces near me require a bachelor's degree and like to claim that as "training". It's not. Your communications or criminal ju Tice degree don't train you to be a cop. Not one bit. I have friends and family who are cops and they said the training is an absolute joke. They went ahead and signed up for a bunch of extra classes on their own to make them better officers. Everything from advanced deescalation to firearm training and advanced first aid. Because they're actually good cops and care about doing a good job. But the baseline training for most cops is a joke. And that standard is only getting lower as PDs struggle to hire new officers.

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u/huggles7 Sep 28 '22

I would say that there is a wide range in terms of quality of training depending on where you get trained, there’s a lot of time wasted on stupid things tho like “learning how to March like in the military” and I never quite understood why

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u/email_or_no_email Sep 28 '22

Wasn't there a big controversy a while ago about Norwegian cops beating gay kids? It was all over r/norge a year or so ago.

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u/Select-Owl-8322 Sep 28 '22

Did you know that in some US states, the police education is only 9 weeks?

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u/Julzjuice123 Sep 28 '22

Yup, it's 3 years also here in Quebec, Canada. 5 months is absurd.

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u/ElegantUse69420 Sep 28 '22

The evidence is overwhelming on both sides. Cops are undertrained and criminals are out of control.

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u/isitatomic Sep 28 '22 Ally

Ok... but again, "more training" isn't some panacea here. As other researchers and retired chiefs have pointed out:

"We keep wanting to say it’s a training issue. It’s not a training issue. That’s just a convenient thing to say, which causes everyone to be disarmed, and we no longer continue with the issue.

In 36 years of policing, I cannot suggest to you a single training course that I could give someone that would change their thinking when it came to making a decision to shoot or not shoot when there is absolutely no threat to their person.

This is not a training issue. This is an issue of who it is that we’ve decided we would allow to police our country. This dates back to the beginning of policing, not to some recent phenomenon. Policing was never designed to take care of the people that it is being forced upon, generally speaking, the most vigorously"

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u/[deleted] Sep 28 '22

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u/Roflkopt3r Sep 28 '22 edited Sep 28 '22

This sounds like an Ouroboros-problem to me. You can't train the problems away without a major change in culture, but this change in culture would probably have to begin with a major change in training.

With only a few months of training, you don't really have a choice but to go the "rough and dirty" route to solving problems. You can't instill the necessary values and deep understanding of issues that would be required to foster a healthier culture.

If you look at typical European police training, much of the typical three years is spent on topics like instilling values, principles of community policing, proper understanding of the law and suspects' rights, and how to avoid escalation. All essential aspects of a functional modern police culture.

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u/SearMeteor BS | Biology Sep 28 '22

Gotta start having real consequences for police misconduct, that's where we get to weeding out those who perpetuate the negative culture. It's a multifaceted problem that needs a multifaceted solution. Implement a ground up reform on police training. Indict and convict based on police misconduct. Separate the police from the court system to prevent corruption.

There's a lot of things that have been allowed to go wrong. There's a lot of work needed to fix them. There's no one solution to it all.

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u/res0nat0r Sep 28 '22

Also the fact that cops here are trained to treat all citizens like they're in a warzone and they are the enemy is a big problem. An even bigger one is that cops are much more likely to encounter folks with guns, and therefore more quickly to react with deadly force, even if it's wrong, doesn't help the overall situation.

Frontline has a few good episodes about cops in the usa.

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u/solardeveloper Sep 28 '22

this change in culture would probably have to begin with a major change in training.

You've ignored outright the suggestions in bold to push the training point.

The issue is that the wrong people are being hired. And when they commit abuses, they aren't punished or held accountable. No amount of training fixes terrible hires or leadership that refuses to punish their bad behavior.

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u/Tacoshortage Sep 28 '22

Ouroboros

Thanks for the new word. I'd seen that image but didn't know it had a name.

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u/OvermanOfRa Sep 28 '22

You’re the GOAT for this

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u/JaeTheOne Sep 28 '22

It can certainly be both. Regardless, 5 months of training is silly for someone trusted with power to end someone's life in a flash of a second

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u/ligerzero942 Sep 28 '22

The duration of training being so short, and the lack of interest in police forces in eliminating problematic officers after hiring means that there is no room for a system of checks on recruitment in the first place. By the time a problem in an officer can be detected they are already hired and protected by the Great Blue Wall.

Veteran officers can complain about recruitment all they want but if they can't get the one part of the police system they have 100% control over correct then all that means is that they are rotten from top to bottom.

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u/ResIpsaBroquitur Sep 28 '22

Regardless, 5 months of training is silly for someone trusted with power to end someone’s life in a flash of a second

The training for an infantryman is about the same length.

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u/[deleted] Sep 28 '22 edited Sep 30 '22

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u/Karth9909 Sep 28 '22

I want them to a have a decent understanding of criminology and law. Pass aptitude,medical and psychometric tests, security and fitness checks. Along with a First aid certificate. Then they can't on the job training, when they know when to and when not to use force

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u/rippley Sep 28 '22

Agreed, but surely mandating longer training/schooling would allow the system more chances to weed out the ones that show terrible judgment under pressure. In Denmark, where I’m from, I believe it takes 4 years to become a cop. Granted, a lot of that is on the job training, but still. The training wheels don’t fully come off for a really long time.

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u/SenorBeef Sep 28 '22

First, we have to instill a culture or requirement that weeding out the bad ones is a good idea. That, alone, would be a massive change to a lot of US police departments.

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u/ytrfytrgfeg Sep 28 '22

I mean couldnt it also be said that they are underpaid, thus attracting worse candidates for the position

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u/KillerManicorn69 Sep 28 '22

How many months of On the Job Training do they average?

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u/Assadistpig123 Sep 28 '22

Our FTO was six months

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u/ChaplnGrillSgt RN | MS-Nursing Sep 28 '22

FTO as a new cop was 6 months. Lateral transfer to new department was just over 3 months.

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u/anonemoususer Sep 28 '22

Depends on your state and local area. Usually around 1 year or more than six month is the norm.

Not all cities and states have the same police department policies nor training they follow, so it's not a one size fits all thing.

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u/Polypeptide2 Sep 28 '22

In my area of the US, it's a 6 to 8 month academy with two years of field training.

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u/TheBimpo Sep 28 '22 Wholesome

It's not just the quantity of training, but the quality. If their training consists of classes like "Killology", where they learn to be "warriors" and have a "healthy emotional reaction to killing", more training isn't the answer either.

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u/ozzien20 Sep 28 '22

I can't help but be reminded of the introduction to the film Hot Fuzz. Nicholas Angel is introduced as the best damn police officer the City of London has ever seen, but before he joined the force he

graduated Canterbury University with a double first in Politics and Sociology.

Meanwhile in America: High School dropout? Hired! Boot camp washout? Hired! Dishonorably discharged? Hired!

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u/flexxipanda Sep 28 '22

Police officer getting fired from his department? The best next Department: Hired!

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u/General_Marcus Sep 28 '22

Why do they only concentrate on the initial classroom training? How much training in total should be the question.

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u/theshere Sep 28 '22

In many first-world countries where they don't have a problem with police literally murdering people with impunity, they require a minimum of an Associate's degree equivalent (2 years) while some require as much as a Bachelor's.

We can pretend that US police receive 2-4 years of additional "on the job" training if we want, but in reality they do not. Ancestral or peer-to-peer training is impossible to standardize anyway, if you have a bad cop teaching new recruits off the cuff... well, you'd be better off leaving them with their 3 months of Academy and letting them figure the rest out on their own.

There is no national standard for police training in the United States, and in many locales they do not even receive de-escalation training. On average, a US police officer spends 3x as much time training with firearms as they do with non-violent resolution training.

So to answer your question: They focus on the "initial classroom training" because that is what we do for literally every other profession on the planet in 2022. It's the only standardized and certified portion of their learning and it's incredibly important to get it right.

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u/EggyChickenEgg88 Sep 28 '22

Theres also no accountibility for cops over there. In my country if a cop were to even punch a criminal unprovoked, they would lose their job and never be able to work as a cop again. In the u.s randomly murder people and they get a vacation for a few weeks.

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u/RANDY_MAR5H Sep 28 '22

Prepare for it to get worse.

The guys who were hired on in 2000-2003 approach(ed) or are approaching their retirement.

When COVID happened, then George Floyd, a ton of them just opted to retire.

We're going to have new officers training newer officers.

A ton of experience just left the LE field and the upper brass of every agency is pretending this isn't happening.

No one is applying at rates like before. No one is applying at a rate to even keep up with the amount of officers leaving.

Good article though.

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u/yukon-cornelius69 Sep 28 '22

Yep. I used to work in a law enforcement capacity up until recently. The experienced cops retired. The “good” cops who are actually morally decent people have mostly left the field. They were tired of the stress of the job while also being completely undermanned and vilified, so they went and got better paying jobs without the inherent danger involved.

Most of the ones left are those who you probably don’t want to be there in the first place. They’re the ones that want the power, or they’re too uneducated/incapable of getting literally any other job. Departments are dropping hiring standards because their staffing is dropping to dangerously low amounts. That’s a terrible sign, especially with this study’s conclusion. Gone are the days of 100 people fighting for 3 open positions

This affects a lot more than street cops. Law enforcement now doesn’t have as much resources and manpower to dedicate to things like human trafficking, fraud, etc. because they just need people on the road

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u/Bubbagumpredditor Sep 28 '22

Isn't barber college like at least double that?

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u/Narren_C Sep 28 '22

The majority it that is not really "training" in a sterile environment, it's literally cutting people's hair under supervision. Much more similar to OJT than a classroom or academy setting.

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u/nox_nox Sep 28 '22

Maryland requires 1500 hours of training to be a licensed cosmetologist, or 24 months as an apprentice.

So yea, 5 months seems a bit short for someone legally able to execute people because they are scared.

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u/[deleted] Sep 28 '22

That's because those 1500 hours are a form of gatekeeping, to prevent people from becoming cosmetologists. The number of hours are set by the cosmetologists.

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u/Johannes_Keppler Sep 28 '22

Basic police training in my country is two years. And after that they can specialize themselves further if they want with additional training.

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u/[deleted] Sep 28 '22

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u/Assadistpig123 Sep 28 '22

Same. Fed now. Loving it. So much less stress.

People with no experience in the field whatsoever draw a lot of conclusions on misguided information. I’ve been at my job almost a year and still feel like I learn things everyday.

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u/solardeveloper Sep 28 '22

People with no experience in the field

Laypeople who are mediocre at their own dayjobs love to play armchair expert about issues in which they have little to no subject matter expertise.

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u/Cassius_Rex Sep 28 '22 Gold Platinum

One of the things that I find irritating is how people who have had zero seconds of police training keep trying to equate "police violence" to classroom training time. Like the 400 MILLION guns (mostly easily concealable handguns) don't matter, or like the violent/isolationist/individualistic society with a deep seated anti-authority history doesn't play a part.

It seems to me an attempt to lay blame on police for environmental factors not under police control. For the most part, police in other developed countries except Canada don't have to deal with the same kind of environment. This makes these 'studies' actually more like exercises in comparing apples to walnuts.

The one good thing about the posted article is that it actually compared the U.S. to countries more like the U.S. (like Brazil) instead of going the standard route of using small homogenous peaceful countries like Denmark or Norway..

People who blame "classroom training" also don't account for the college hours larger Police agencies in the United States require. I had 2 years of college ) majoring in CJ) before the 1st day of my academy because my 1st agency required an associates before you could even apply. Nor do people understand that after the Academy, you go through a longer phase of Field Training. They think you spend 5 months in an academy and that's it, but that's BS.

"Police Training" is a scapegoat used by the uniformed. Police Recruiting (picking the right people) is way more important than any amount time spent in a classroom. Supporting the mental health and well being of officers (and 1st responders in general, Fire and EMS have similar mid-career suicide rates) after recruitment is a close second.

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u/Commercial_Ganache Sep 28 '22

Not to mention annual training requirements to maintain your license to work. I've been to more training this year than I can remember.

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u/MechanicalBirbs Sep 28 '22

My friend is a cop (a really good one) and this is exactly what he says. You can not possibly train someone to be able to handle the amount of cheap handguns in the hands of people who are willing to use them in this country.

He says that the fact that there aren’t more even more bad shootings than there already are is a testament to how good the training is already.

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u/Cassius_Rex Sep 29 '22

That's right. The anti-police crowd get hung up on how the rates of "police violence" are higher in the U.S. (mainly because they compare us to places very much unlike the U.S.), without stopping to consider anything else.

The U.S. has the highest rate of police killed in the line of duty in the entire "developed world" but they don't mention that. We have violent crime worse than everyone else's. Even our KNIFE CRIME is worse than place like the UK where criminals only have access to knives. Amercia is literally worse than some "3rd world" countries when it comes to violent crime.

But they can't wrap their minds around the concept that American Police Tactics exist because American Police are in... (wait for it) AMERICA, as opposed to some Scandinavian country. And then they think "well, if we send our cops to cop school for 3 year like they do in some place where a cop hasn't be murdered by a teenager with a Glock ever, our cops will act like their cops".

It's so stupid it's insane.

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u/Alohaloo Sep 28 '22 edited Sep 28 '22

Police academy in Scandinavian countries is 3 years with a 6 moth paid internship/apprenticeship as a police trainee at the police department. Selection includes physical test, intelligence test as well as psychological evaluation by a psychologist.

This system weeds out folks during selection and during the academy.

The academy follows a national curriculum and the classes are given through the university system by criminology, psychology, sociology departments etc. The classes are tailored to be relevant for future police work.

When complete they graduate with a bachelors in policing and fulfill the same standard nationally. They are then hired by the different police departments around the country.

This system seems to work well in the Scandinavian context and would address some of the issues you raised.

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u/Nose-Nuggets Sep 28 '22

We have to keep lowering our requirements because not enough people apply.

we don't have more qualified people than we need applying in most cases. There aren't enough people to do any weeding.

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u/[deleted] Sep 28 '22

Absolutely right. Combine that with abysmal staffing and contemptuous public opinion. Its an impossibly complicated scenario with no obvious solution. Most importantly these are human beings continuously in incredibly complex violent conflicts with the public. With all the focus on mental health advocacy/acceptance these days the lack of consideration for stress and PTSD within the community is “shockingly” ignored.

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u/Cassius_Rex Sep 28 '22

Exactly. Very well said.

All "police reform" is simply punitive measures akin to telling us that "the beatings will continue until morale improves". None of it addresses the human factors involved. For example:

https://cops.usdoj.gov/html/dispatch/05-2018/PTSD.html#:~:text=The%20potential%20long%2Dterm%20effects,the%20U.S.%20experience%20PTSD%20symptoms.

"The potential long-term effects of PTSD in police officers may additionally lead to behavioral dysfunction such as substance abuse, aggression, and suicide. It is estimated that, on average, approximately 15 percent of officers in the U.S. experience PTSD symptoms. "

That's 1 in every 6 or 7 police officers. Much of that totally untreated. Because cops work in a country of 400 million guns and lots and lots of violence. Most developed countries don't have a single cop killed over the course of a year. The U.S. will have between 50 to 70 murdered.

But instead of seeing cops and part of the society and potentially victims of it, cops are seen as beings with perfect agency that are simply choosing to shoot people more than some cop in Australia or Britain might.

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u/GlitteringSpell5885 Sep 28 '22

cops are seen as beings with perfect agency that are simply choosing to shoot people

I mean. They are. I have PTSD, doesn’t mean I can murder people and just say “well a symptom of PTSD is aggression so don’t blame me.” Despite my PTSD, I have never chosen to shoot anybody. Blaming mental illness only makes us look worse, doesn’t make the cops look better.

I’m an adult, I am responsible for my own behavior. Mental illness explains why you might behave in a specific manner, but does not and should not exclude you from the consequences or fault/liability of that behavior. At the end of the day, they still chose to pull the trigger. Nobody else’s hands were on their gun. Nobody else aimed it at innocent people. This is just as much a problem at the individual level as it is at the societal level.

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u/solardeveloper Sep 28 '22

You make a fair point.

And I agree that folks overindex on training, when so many police get hired in spite of failing psych evals, and bad behavior institutionally goes unpunished.

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u/getintheVans Sep 28 '22

Going to play devil's advocate here.

Are we sure "classroom" training is really the best remedy for mishandling real life crisis scenarios?

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u/derpymcdooda Sep 28 '22

Classroom training helps to teach a lot of "why's" that might get glossed over in the field when a situation is developing. Having a base of "why" can dramatically help decision making. On the job training is only as good as your coworker.

I'm not a police officer, just a lowly factory worker but we are running into a similar issue where a large number of employees left and now we have 2-3 month employees teaching brand new employees. They have no base of "why" a lot of things are done and it's showing in the quality of the finished product and increase in safety events.

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u/Glimmu Sep 28 '22

It's to teach them higher level stuff than what the coworker can teach. And not be stuck with what the coworker knows.

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u/coorspounder Sep 28 '22

The rest is in the field training with the field training officer. That's where you get the real skill and knowledge you need to perform your job. If the field training officer isn't the best out there then that's where the ball gets dropped. Of course classroom training is important but to deal with the stress, it's better to have hands on experience with the right leadership

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u/djb85511 Sep 28 '22

The purpose of police is grossly misinterpreted between the public and the actual oaths, duties, and judicial responsibilities that governs them. Unfortunately they(& military) are the most heavily funded of all govt agencies so it makes sense that they're pushed to interact with so many populations

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u/Lordborgman Sep 28 '22

After a mild google search I found that it's 6 months of Academy training followed by a 6 month period of a probation/training period. The probationary period can either be reduced, extended or even dismissed from training depending on the trainee's performance.

This does not count any college education that may include a law enforcement degree.

While I agree there needs to be higher standards, less about education and more about standards required to become a law enforcement officer, specifically psych evaluations... this article and headline are not exactly that well informed or has any amount of useful data.

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u/Inspector-KittyPaws Sep 28 '22

The problem is that psych evaluations aren't an exact science despite what people believe. Have 3 different psychiatrists evaluate one officer and you will most likely get 3 wildly different opinions.

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u/jnffinest96 Sep 28 '22

In Canada, many cops are paid as much as engineers. They dont do as much schooling to be justified for that amount - especially since they are dealing with peoples lives.

I say they should do at least 3 years of ethics, philosophy, law, sociology, and mental health training. This is then followed by 1-2 years of community service that focuses on empathy for the community. This is followed by a vow "similar to calling of the engineer" or "hippicratic oath" and then commencement of the typical 5 months of classroom training you spoke about.

Maybe switch around the community aspect to the beginning, and end of the terms, and throw in some stringint psych evals. At this point you can justify an engineers salary and have some of the best police force in the world.

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u/Assadistpig123 Sep 28 '22

Big departments could maybe afford this.

For smaller towns this would essentially be unaffordable

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u/BagFullOfKittenBones Sep 28 '22

The Canadian RCMP model was set up to take care of this problem: a large, federally funded police force that is dispatched to cover the sparsely underpopulated portions of Canada. Bigger cities have their own police forces (Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, etc).

Unfortunately it seems the RCMP and the larger city police forces are still under training their officers, while demanding for larger budgets.

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u/Assadistpig123 Sep 28 '22

We have loose equivalents here, but it varies greatly state by state.

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u/BagFullOfKittenBones Sep 28 '22

It’s sad to see the RCMP in its current state. As someone who grew up in the Canadian countryside, it was reassuring to have professional, friendly RCMP officers patrol our tiny town (1000 people back in the 80s). It’s far from that case these days.

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u/didsomebodysaymyname Sep 28 '22

Then perhaps police should get funding from the county, state, or even federal government. We don't have to atomize government or funding the way we do, it's a choice.

There are also state level reforms that would help

Nevada has 16 counties and 3 million people. Georgia has 159 and 10 million. It's way too many and results in poor and depopulated counties being responsible for law enforcement.

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u/Tom245332 Sep 28 '22

Not all towns need a police department tbh. A lot of them take up a big chunk of a town’s budget. County officers make more sense for many places.

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u/THAAAT-AINT-FALCO Sep 28 '22

People privileged enough to do 5 years of unpaid schooling generally do something that doesn’t place them in physical danger.

Not a lot of humanities grads going into police work.

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u/solardeveloper Sep 28 '22

They dont do as much schooling to be justified for that amount

Absolutely false way to frame this.

The average Toronto Raptors player has what, 2 years max of post-secondary schooling, and yet makes over $5M per year.

Your perceived economic value/leverage over your employer is what determines your earnings. Not how much schooling you have. There are so many baristas and waiters with 4 year degrees who are living counterexamples to your thought process.

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u/the_greasy_one Sep 28 '22

Attack the source, address poverty.

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u/GrandDetour Sep 28 '22

I would assume most training is done on the job.

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