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The real cause of unarmed citizens being shot by law enforcement might be both frightening and yet straightforward– local police officers are now actually trained to be paranoid. That’s right, trained to be paranoid. That means in some sense trained to be both suspicious as well as generally afraid of the public.
The disturbing fact is, most American police officers are now trained to be edgy, always responding with deadly force according to former police officer Randy Shrewsberry. Shrewsberry spent tenyears as a cop andwas named Police Officer of the Year by the South Carolina Rotary Club in 1995. He also worked as a police dispatcher, crime-scene investigator, and as a consultant to the U.S. Marshal’s Office.
“I attended four basic training academies in three states,”Shrewsberry wrote in a Change.org petition. “Trainings left me feeling as if I was a soldier of war, instead of a peace officer sworn to protect and serve my community.”
“Modern police training is unrealistic and often focuses on rare threats instead of the real problems officers face on the beat every day,” Shrewsberry charged. “Cops learn only to shoot and not how to deal with people.”
Sadly, many officers are poorly trained. Worse yet, many of the law enforcement officers patrolling America’s streets receive little or no training, Shrewsberry alleged.
Hair Stylists Have To Have More Training Than Police
“A police officer; who has enormous power over people’s lives, is required to have only a fraction of the training required of someone working as a professional hair stylist,” Shrewsberry wrote. Shrewsberry made that shocking discovery while researching police training in four states.
Some other disturbing data that he uncovered included:
- There are no agreed upon requirements or standards for police officers.
- For the most part, it’s an unregulated field.
- Many states require barbers, electricians, and plumbers to complete more hours of training than police officers.
A police officer in Colorado is not required to receive any on-the-job training. A cosmetologist (hair stylist) must complete 1,800 hours of on-the-job training to get a license in Colorado.
- A police officer in Illinois is required to complete 400 hours of basic training and no on-the-job training. A hairdresserin Illinois must complete 1,500 hours of basic training and 4,000 hours of on-the-job training.
- 23 states allowpersons to work as police officers with absolutely no training. All they need is a badge and a gun.
- The average police officer in the United States receives 15 hours of field (on-the-job) training.
- A police officer can be on the job for two years with no training whatsoever in Mississippi.
- 15 states allowa police officer to serve on the force for a year with no training.
- Some states allow people to work as police officers for up to three years without formal training thanks to “deferments.”
Shrewsberry was so disgusted by the lack of police training that he founded the Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform to fix the problem. He is also asking Congress to pass the Police Training and Independent Review Act of 2017which would mandate training for all cops nationwide.
But just whose nationwide training? One retired police captain of a large city told me his beat cops used to walk the streets talking to merchants and locals every day with an emphasis on protecting and serving… until his city aldermen demanded training from federal swat teams. Once the feds started training his men… his officers considered the public their sworn enemies. (His words not mine.) His city also created a budget for tanks and armored war vehicles.
Here’s a map will let you compare the training requirements for police officers and hair stylists in your state.
Question: Should beat cops be trained to fear the public? You can understand the dilemma. Once a fellow officer gets shot, other officers get paranoid. Can you blame them?