By Maria Illarramendi
CHATTANOOGA , TENN (mocsnews.com) – Recently, with the deaths of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Daunte Wright there has been a lot of speculation on how police funding is being handled.
This is widely being considered now because of the recent decision of Minneapolis to disband their previous police department and begin to invest more in public safety.
On one side of the spectrum, people want to defund the police, and on the other many argue there is not enough funding as it is now.
Perhaps not enough people are considering an alternative solution, refunding. This “refunding” of the police would be used on giving them resources they can apply in the field. There could be proper education on how to de-escalate a situation, how to handle traumatic events, and how to prepare for it and get better after.
It would seem that systems like these would already be in place for our police officers, but according to USA Today, “Thirty-four states currently do not require de-escalation training for all officers.”
Considering the high stress environments officers are put in daily, many find it surprising that sometimes they are not even given strategies to calmly deal with someone in a potentially dangerous situation. Many police departments that have implemented such training have reported reductions in use-of-force accidents.
Tennessee is one of the few that does require training, but no minimum hours are set.
I asked Tennessee state trooper and former police officer, Adam Davis, if he has ever been to this sort of training. “I have been because I think it is important to me that I feel safe and confident going into every situation.” Davis explained to me that though police need more training before hand, they also need ongoing resources as they continue in the career.
Police are trying their best to do their job, and that is to uphold the law and enforce it. However, as Davis explained, sometimes it is too much to handle for even the toughest cop. There are certain calls, and incidents that leave with them. This is where he and EMT/Medic, Jimmy Smith, agree.
Smith works on the Nashville Fire Department, and is an EMT on the ambulance. Smith often gets called out to the same scenes as the local police. He touched on this same idea that some calls are a lot. It can be a lot for any person to handle, and police are expected to do it every time and then just carry on. Smith says he wishes that there was more concern about what these jobs entail daily. He best explained it by saying, “After five, or ten years of seeing the things they see, who wouldn’t be a little on edge?”
Finally I asked Connie Kirk, who is a paralegal, what she thought about all of this. Connie’s husband recently retired from the police department himself and she told me about all the times he would come home in a certain mood and she just knew that meant he had a bad call. She explained that he is a strong man, but that she doesn’t think more training could ever hurt anybody.
This video gives a little insight into the job of a police officer. The reality that your friends and colleagues could not make it home.
This is where programs like counseling services, or even psychiatric evaluations could come into play. The fact is, these policemen see and go through some unthinkable things. This can make them scared and easier to react without thinking. If there was something in place that made officers feel safe expressing what they had been through that week and talk about it, it may be easier to observe and possibly notice any changes in behavior. This could possibly prevent a tragedy from happening.