The Washington Post has spent two years tracking police use of deadly force and they continue to be shocked that deadly force is not going down in this country.
Despite countless reforms from law enforcement including policy and training, the police continue to shoot and kill around 975 citizens a year in the United States and demographically is has remained virtually unchanged.
Words such as “sanctity of life” and “de-escalation” are throughout the reforms but the deaths are not being reduced and now, in a desperate attempt, some think they have found the answer.
In a study led by The Washington Post, they say that if the police were simply required to complete a report when they pulled their gun out, that deadly force would be reduced.
Personally, I don’t care one way or the other and close to half of the agencies require the report now but just like other “magic” words did not work, this will solve nothing.
Law enforcement today is the most trained and most professional they have been in history. The police have the most resources they have ever had at their disposal to prevent deadly force and that is a good thing. We should continue to evolve and kick the “status quo” to the curb. We owe that to our community and our officers.
I believe in strong policy that makes the life of all citizens important. De-escalation has and should always be a hallmark of what we, as police professionals, do each and every day but the unfortunate fact is, there will still be citizens that attack law enforcement and create situations where force and sometimes deadly force must be used.
So what can be done to reduce deadly force incidents? Certainly a lot and I am very confident that many of our agencies are doing all they can in this area but there is something that The Washington Post and many other naysayers can do to help……Tell citizens to stop attacking cops, committing violent crimes and producing weapons towards law enforcement.
I have yet to hear The Washington Post or any prominent politicians ever say this. What if citizens actually complied with law enforcement and stopped committing violent acts against others and law enforcement? Maybe it is bold to think this is possible but that would actually help curb the force that cops use and that should be the goal of everyone rather than goofy studies that place another requirement on our men and women behind the badge.
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.