Letter to the Editor: Police training should prepare officers to protect all groups

Police officers are not being trained to serve, protect in inclusive way



The way our nation’s police officers are trained is affecting the safety of our minority communities.

Nancy Street, Contributor

As if the Black and brown lives that have been snuffed out by police without justification isn’t enough, there are other recent events that reveal the inadequate training and/or integrity of some police and law enforcement personnel.

A 73-year-old woman in Colorado left Walmart without paying for $14 worth of goods, probably because of her dementia, was tackled and handcuffed, later providing entertainment for those police. People who have mental disabilities are met with violence by law enforcement, as most likely the case of the 70-year-old woman at the Spokane County Jail.

Two weeks ago, a deaf woman in Las Vegas was arrested by police who put handcuffs on her – relying on her 11-year-old child to interpret as she couldn’t communicate through American Sign Language.

There are immigrants, international students or foreign visitors who may not be fluent in English and may not understand “freeze,” resulting in being shot and killed for not complying with commands.

Lastly, there are people from other cultures who don’t know our customs, who bring a shopping bag to the mall like they would at home, put the merchandise in the bag and are looking for where to pay, and walk out into the mall — resulting in the store security arresting them for shoplifting.

What kind of comprehensive training is required for police officers? Do they know that not everyone can obey verbal commands? Do they emphasize de-escalation over shoot-to-kill – even someone with a knife?

The public deserves satisfactory answers and accountability.