Much of Tuesday’s testimony highlighted the training former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin received. But a long-standing problem with policing in Minneapolis and elsewhere is the difference between what officers learn in the academy and what they learn on the streets.
Law enforcement officials and criminal justice experts have said that while officers can learn things like de-escalation and community engagement in training, they can be heavily influenced by whoever trains them. on the job.
And sometimes these Field Training Officers may be from a previous generation who used a more aggressive approach. This rift has worried Minneapolis Police and city officials as they attempt to change the way their officers operate after George Floyd’s death.
Mr. Chauvin, who faces murder charges after kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, was a field training officer. He had supervised two of the junior officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s arrest.
“Every police department has a mission statement, but culture is what leaders accept on a daily basis,” said Sean Hendrickson, instructor at the Washington State Police Academy, in an article of the year last. “This is supported by other officers and is extremely deep and very difficult to change.”
Some activists have argued that the Minneapolis Police – and other police departments – are hopelessly broken that no new training can reform them. Others expressed concern that officers are not receiving adequate or sufficient training.
Most states require fewer minimum hours of training to obtain a police officer’s license than for barbers or cosmetologists. As of last year, for example, New York State law provides for 1,000 hours of training for massage therapists, compared to about 700 hours for agents. Hawaii does not have minimum requirements for police officers, but manicurists must practice for 300 hours.
To become a police officer in Minneapolis, one must first obtain a state peace officer license, which involves up to 1,050 hours of training. Once recruits are licensed, they must complete additional training administered by the Minneapolis Police Department, which includes 19 weeks at the academy.
After completing the academy, new officers spend five months on the streets with a field training officer, who is supposed to teach recruits how to translate what they learned at the academy into real life situations. But current and former officers have pointed out one of the first things field training officers often say to new recruits: “Forget everything you learned in the academy.”