Resolution in Support of Enhancing Police Officer Training, Wellness, and Support Mechanisms
WHEREAS, basic officer training requirements vary widely, ranging from 404 hours in Georgia to slightly more than 1,000 in Hawaii; and
WHEREAS, a Department of Justice report examining the content of police training in the U.S. found a greater focus on physical and technical skills than on human interaction skills, such as verbal communication, de-escalation, and crisis intervention; and
WHEREAS, a Police Executive Research Forum member survey found that the average academy provides 10 hours of training on communication skills, eight hours on de-escalation, and eight hours on crisis intervention, compared to 80 hours on weapons training and 49 hours on defensive tactics training; and
WHEREAS, an evaluation of the Police Executive Research Forum’s Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT) de-escalation training program found that officers who completed the program were involved in 28% fewer uses of force, 26% fewer citizen complaints, and 36% fewer officer injuries than those who received no training; and
WHEREAS, an evaluation of enhanced supervisory coaching of Seattle officers with a high predicted risk of use of force, injury, or public complaint found that coached officers made between 12% and 25% fewer arrests per incident and 15% to 50% less likely to use force; and
WHEREAS, a survey of police officers in an urban department found that 60% of male officers and 46% of female officers had experienced five or more traumatic events in the past year alone; and
WHEREAS, a recent study by the University of Chicago Crime Lab estimates that PTSD in police officers could account for up to 46% of cases of excessive force; and
WHEREAS, a study by the Ruderman Family Foundation found that more police officers and firefighters die from suicide than in the line of duty; and
WHEREAS, a national study of municipal police departments and sheriffs’ offices found only about half (53%) of agencies had an employee assistance program and less than one-third (29%) had wellness (resiliency, responding to secondary trauma, mental health awareness) programs or trainings; and
WHEREAS, a study funded by the National Institute of Justice demonstrated that early intervention systems were effective in reducing citizen complaints and use of force incidents among those officers who were subjected to intervention; and
WHEREAS, Oklahoma passed a law to expand the availability of crisis intervention training, officer wellness programs, and peer-support initiatives and Louisiana passed legislation supporting officer wellness programs and encouraging the use of peer support as a component of them; and
WHEREAS, North Carolina has mandated that law enforcement agencies use early warning systems to identify officers on trajectories toward adverse events, such as excessive use of force, in order to provide needed wellness services, and improve officer performance.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that (insert state), in promotion of officer wellness and public safety, supports statutory, rulemaking, and budgetary changes to the extent needed to ensure all officers in each state receive robust training, including participation in the ICAT or comparable de-escalation training program, as well as to ensure that officer wellness programs are available to all officers, including components such as early intervention mechanisms, peer support, and supervisory coaching of officers.