BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Police in Baltimore have been stepping back from the last resort, training on ways to minimize the use of deadly force.
Dozens of other police departments came to Baltimore today to see how it works, WJZ’s Alex DeMetrick reports.
“American police departments have trained officers to rush, rush, rush, get to the scene and deal with people are posing a danger to the community, but sometimes we have to slow down a little bit,” says Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. “We have to think about people who are not armed with a firearm but still pose a threat.”
Just like a scenario that was acted out before representatives from 60 police departments by Baltimore Police officers who are trained to communicate and slow a situation down.
“Let’s move up to that car for cover,” one officer said during the simulation. “It doesn’t look like he’s trying to hurt anyone, he’s just waving a bar around. See if I can talk to him.”
In real life, though, things speed up. Like last year, when a man waving knives at officers was ordered 10 times to drop the weapons.
A Taser was tried, then shots were fired. Police rushed to save his life.
Training developed by the police executive research forum works to change this kind of outcome.
“How do you approach that situation?” asks Chuck Wexler, who’s with the forum. “How do you do it? How do you slow the situation down, how do you communicate with that person?”
Training every city police officer takes time, but a deadline has been set.
“By the end of 2017 every Baltimore police officer will be trained,” Davis says.
Baltimore Police is one of seven departments to be used as pilot sites for the training.