The call for the Portland Police Department to remove the “48 hour rule” that is currently required before an officer can be interviewed following a deadly shooting is another attack on law enforcement that may seem harmless to some but it is dangerous to the profession.
The demand made by a police oversight panel is just another uneducated, baseless request that makes no sense unless you want to harm law enforcement.
Of course the rule exists, hopefully in every agency, because of the sound research and past history of interviewing officers immediately after a critical incident. One component of a high stress situation is a loss of memory. Research calls it a “memory gap” and immediately after a shooting or other high stress event, those involved will often not remember details or misinterpret facts. Those gaps begin to fill in and after a few days officers will have a clear picture of what occurred.
The importance of a 48-72 hour window after a critical incident is vital if you want an accurate depiction of what happened. I have been there and witnessed it myself. This so called “oversight committee” would have no clue and the only reason anyone would push for the elimination of this sound practice is to harm the reputation and/or indict more cops.
I’ll tell you how it would happen. If an officer is involved in a shooting, most will experience memory loss of the incident and if forced under a criminal investigation to give details of that incident, they simply will not be able to be completely accurate. What they say will be used against them and when the complete memory of the incident returns and they change their story, lawyers, prosecutors and oversight committees will call them liars or worse attempt to indict them.
We will never see oversight committees telling truck drivers to change their guidelines on the amount of hours they can drive in a day or doctors what they should do but we will continue to see this happening in law enforcement. Law enforcement remains the most discriminated profession in modern day.
We have seen this before with organizations such as PERF wanting departments to disregard the Supreme Court in regards to Graham v. Connor, which dictates use of force for law enforcement and we will continue to see a barrage of recommendations, requests and mandates coming from individuals and organizations that know very little about the profession. It is done through political expediency, political correctness and sometimes with evil intent in order to jeopardize the careers of those protecting the home front.
Law Officer will continue to say to every law enforcement leader out there (and you are all leaders), now is the time to lead. It will take courageous leadership to combat what we are seeing today and make no mistake, this is an unprovoked, politically motivated attack on the profession and everyone will lose if these attacks are successful.
Travis Yates is the Founder of the Courageous Leadership Institute
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Travis Yates is a writer and editor at Law Officer. An ILEETA Trainer of the Year, his Seminars in Risk Management & Officer Safety have been taught across the United States & Canada. Major Yates is a current Doctoral Student in Strategic Leadership and is a graduate of the FBI National Academy. He is the Director of Training for Law Officer (www.lawofficer.com) and the Founder of the Courageous Leadership Institute (www.courageousleader.org), providing leadership consulting and training to law enforcement around the world.