MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Community members renewed the call Thursday to put an end to what they call “fear-based training” for police officers.
“This promotes a very dangerous police culture because what these courses are about is far more about police culture than they are about any specific skills,” said Minneapolis resident Dave Bicking.
They testified at a meeting of the Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, which certifies agencies that offer training to law enforcement officers.
“Even officers who do not take this training are influenced by those who do, as they hear about the horrors that lie and wait around every corner from their colleagues,” said Minneapolis resident Todd Schuman. “And when an unjustified killing does occur, there is no accountability, as officers can rightly claim they simply did what they were trained to do.”
Courses offered by “Bulletproof Warrior” have come under fire by people who say it teaches cops to be overly aggressive rather than see themselves as guardians.
“People of color are already in danger. We don’t even need this particular training for them to have to put us in danger,” said POST Board Member Clarence Castile. “What it does is it adds to it, it fuels the flames that are already there.”
Castile was appointed the board shortly after his nephew, Philando Castile, was shot to death by a St. Anthony police officer.
The agency’s executive director, Nate Gove, has come under fire by Governor Mark Dayton over a different issue. The Star Tribune published a series of reports this week about how police departments across the state are failing to properly investigate sexual assault cases.
“Well, nobody likes to hear the governor criticize you by name publicly,” Gove said. “I think anybody who knows me knows I am the right person for the job.”
A review of more than 1,000 recent rape cases in Minnesota found that in a third of them, the investigator never interviewed the victim. Seventy-five percent were never forwarded to prosecutors for criminal charges.
Dayton says that maybe “Gove’s not the man for the job” of leading the agency that oversees police training.
“Fundamentally, this is an issue of supervision, accountability and resources within each law enforcement agency across the state,” said POST Board Chair Tim Bildsoe. “Most agencies get it right, but some fail.”
POST’s chair went on to say Gove is the right man for the job of improving this situation.
Gove told WCCO-TV he was shocked and saddened to learn how the system is failing to properly investigate and prosecute reports of rape.
Members of the board plan to meet in August to address this in more detail.