Nation - There are no national standards for training police, and the amount and quality of their instruction varies from agency to agency. But a survey of 280 police departments conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum, found that American cops are given extensive preparation for using violence, and very little guidance on how to avoid it.
The median police recruit in the United States will receive 129 hours of instruction on defensive techniques and using his or her gun, baton, OC-spray, and Taser. That cadet will receive another 24 hours of scenario-based training, drilling on things like when to shoot or hold fire. The median trainee also gets 48 hours of instruction on constitutional law and his or her department’s use-of-force policies.
But that same future police officer will receive only eight hours of training in conflict de-escalation. And despite the fact that a quarter of the 838 citizens shot dead by police this year showed symptoms of mental-health issues, according to The Washington Post, the median cadet gets only eight hours of training in crisis intervention.
The study paints a similar picture with in-service training. A total of 59 percent of a cop’s time is spent on using their weapons or defending themselves. That’s more than four times as much time that he or she will spend on de-escalation and crisis intervention. Almost all of the agencies surveyed offer their cops continual training with firearms, but over a third offer zero in-service instruction on conflict de-escalation.