Want to lower crime in Texas? Fund police training.
Does the public want the police to know and understand the laws they must enforce? How about knowing the difference between a battered spouse charging out the front door towards officers and the same actions by a fully armed murderer? What about carefully studying the different scenarios between a full-blown threat and a victim seeking help when the physical actions may initially be very similar?
Make no mistake, this country lives and dies because of the expertise and experience of the working people of law enforcement who learn and then know what to do. People dial 9-1-1 because they know they need someone else to physically do something for them that they cannot do themselves.
People sometimes call the police when they are afraid of something they cannot see outside their door or their situation is critically urgent because they face a real and present danger; either way, there are trained police professionals to respond. (Whether there are enough officers on staff to field the calls is a completely separate issue.)
The reason they know how to handle the imminent threat is due to training. If they have real, live scenario-based training as a foundation for their real, live on-the-job experience, the outcome is guaranteed. Professional discernment. These professionals are also trained to give up the thing they treasure most, their very life, to protect. It’s not just heart or caring or being raised by good parents. It’s called police training.
The police haters are full of the regular name-calling and false narratives, but one regularly, casually flung insult is that officers have no training or education. And while this is extraordinarily false, when it’s time to provide avant-garde, cutting edge training that would create and build trust in officer training, standards, and education, George Soros contributes a half-million dollars to a campaign in Austin to kill a training and staffing ballot proposition.
And it’s not just the liberal democrats who are in on this blame/block scam. Years ago, the legislature changed the name of the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, Officer Standards and Education to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, TCOLE. By simply eliminating officer standards and education, the government chose its official focus. And it wasn’t standards and education.
Currently, the government’s solution to training is having officers sitting in classes listening to lectures, headed home with old-fashioned copies of handouts about arcane subject matter. Instead, what is actually desperately needed for both the officer and the profession is newly crafted, repetitive skills-based training that officers need to become proficient in decision making, leadership, lifesaving, and use of force.
Last session, it was Republican lawmakers touting the, once a decade, TCOLE Sunset bill that would have given the state agency broad investigatory and ultimate disciplinary power over officers and their licenses but not a red cent toward restructuring the failing training and education components of the agency originally tasked with being the tip of the sword of Texas law enforcement training.
Wouldn’t those seeking police reform want more training? Not if the final solution is to destroy the trust in law enforcement professionalism.
Wouldn’t Democratic politicians, who are spending trillions of taxpayer dollars on everything under the sun, want the best-qualified police in the world? Not if it restores trust in the police and takes away a red herring issue that does well in the polls.
Wait! But wouldn’t the Republican politicians who openly back the blue and use the police issue as a political wedge go out of their way to support world-class police training? Not if it will create a professional class worker that demands respect, workplace rights, higher wages, and a decent retirement…all of which have been perennial targets of the party.
Ultimately the voting citizens are going to have to join with us in holding the line when it comes to professional standards, training, and education. A rising crime wave, the absence of police recruits, and the massive retirement and relocation of experienced officers should send the signal to the public that the only way back to safe communities is to redesign police departments with the best training possible.
When citizens force politicians to realign their priorities, then public trust, lower crime, and new recruits will follow those decisions.
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