Violent crime is up[i] yet there are still some calls to defund the police. There are a few different issues with this, but here are the main two: First, it can cause the crime rate to spike even higher. Second, it does not solve the underlying issues. The call for defunding has been a political response to claims of excessive force, many of which have been based around a false narrative such as the “hands up don’t shoot” fallacy.[ii] It is upsetting to hear when police officer abuses their power or acts out of conduct, but what has been shown is that officers overwhelmingly do it right. In the insanely difficult circumstances where officers must make decisions under unbelievably tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving situations providing training is the way to increase performance and improve outcomes. Not just more training but scientifically based training methods with high efficacy that can make an impact.
How Often Does Misconduct Happen?
It is easy to spin and twist data to suit a particular narrative. When you hear that 1,147 people were killed by police in 2018, it sounds shocking, yet when you consider that police made contact with approximately 61.5 billion people in 2018, that brings the percentage of people to 0.001%.
The data also does not show which killings were considered unjustified. Remember that if an officer or another person’s life is in danger because of someone’s actions, deadly force is justified. If someone is shooting at an officer or putting lives of the public at risk, deadly force is likely the answer to stop the threat. Unfortunately, there are situations where the officers’ actions are wrong – whether it is with malicious intent or not – and in those cases, then the criminal justice system should be used to establish the appropriate actions.
What Happens When Police are Defunded?
Most calls for defunding are not saying they want to abolish the police force altogether. Protestors arguing for this cause believe the money would be better off redirected elsewhere. The problem is that without adequate funding, officer training will suffer. There is already a tiny portion of funds that goes towards training – with less money, it will only get worse.
Many issues that cause people to believe the police should be defunded are more likely to be corrected with more effective training. The incidents where negligent actions led to people hurt or killed by killed the police could be attributed to the fact that the officers were either not well trained, did not follow their training, or both.
Why More Training is the Answer
With the right instruction and training programs, the likelihood of mistakes and misconduct decreases. De-escalation training that may calm an irate subject and less lethal transitions that ensure an officer uses the right level of force are just two examples of how the community can be safer when better instruction is provided.
As incidents occur around the country, VirTra does its best to keep up with training curriculum and scenarios to match. Some examples include Duty to Intervene or Weapon Transitions. Mistakes will happen, as they do in all fields of work, but preparation and confidence lower the chances of those mistakes.
Simulated scenarios and immersive learning techniques can help put trainees in an environment that is close to real life, making it much more effective than bookwork. To learn about our ever-growing library of scenarios and incorporate VirTra in your training regimen, contact a specialist.