Law Enforcement De-Escalation Training Bill gets bipartisan support

Law Enforcement Scenario-Based Training for Safety and De-Escalation Act of 2022
WTAP News @ 11
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 6:27 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) -

A bill introducing de-escalation training to law enforcement is being supported by both sides of aisle.

Ohio’s Senator Sherrod Brown alongside Ohio’s Democratic representative Tim Ryan and Republican representative Anthony Gonzalez, and North Carolina Republican Senator Thom Tillis introduced the Law Enforcement Scenario-Based Training for Safety and De-Escalation Act of 2022.

Senator Brown said that the bill is very bipartisan and just makes sense. He stated training and better communication matter.

The bipartisan bill will create an immersive, real-life, scenario-based training curriculum. the training would focus on improving community-police relations, officer safety, situational awareness, de-escalation and use of force, mental health training and more, according to a news release.

That release also says The NAACP, Fraternal Order of Police, and Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association have endorsed the legislation.

Senator Brown said the bill will apply to the whole country.

“...we did a conference call last week when we had the NAACP and the head of the Fraternal Order of Police who were talking very amicably and forthrightly and we know there’s a lot of opportunities here so this idea may have started in Ohio but it’s a national idea now and we want to get it adopted so people again, not just large departments, but small departments can benefit from it too.”

Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson said that bridging the gap in trust is important.

“I mean, what’s one of the biggest things that you hear about across the country in law enforcement today is the need to rebuild the trust between the citizens of the community and the law enforcement officials.”

Senator Brown said that the bill is affordable.

“...it’s not expensive because we’ve already directed the money into training at the department of justice, so it’s something we can afford. And I would argue it’s something that we can no longer… we can not, not afford. It’s something we need to do.”

Police officials in the Mid-Ohio Valley say they support the legislation.

Most say that they have some sort of de-escalation training, but appreciate the idea of more training that wouldn’t impact their budgets, and gives them more tools to help with community relations.

Marietta’s Police Chief Katherine Ward said that they already provide training to their officers. They receive free training for critical incident training. That includes de-escalation, problem solving, and mental health awareness. Chief Ward said the department is always happy to receive training and be a part of anything that is aimed at community relations.

Wood County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Mark Warden said they do this de-escalation training through ‘Police-One’ training platform. Warden said he’s excited to hear that it’s requiring the Attorney General to create the curriculum and then reimburse the departments, which will help the budgets. He said it will give officers an additional tool to use out in the field.

Parkersburg’s Police Chief Matthew Board said the Parkersburg Police Dept. has always taken a proactive approach to training in regards to de-escalation and response to resistance. One example he gave of this, is the scenario based simulator they acquired within the past year. The officers train with the simulator at a minimum of bi-weekly. In the simulator, the decisions they make dictate how the scenario plays out.