Saturday, May 23, 2015

Get the New Blue Courage Training for Kentucky Cops Now

Before another unarmed kid, mentally ill homeless person or slow-to-respond citizen gets murdered by a militarized cop.


The friendlier attitude reflects a campaign underway here and elsewhere around the U.S. to "demilitarize" the police and produce officers who think of themselves as guardians of their communities, not members of an occupying force.


That includes getting cops to use their wits rather than their weapons whenever possible, as well as instilling a strong moral compass. Supporters say the approach could reduce cynicism, corruption and maybe even suicides among officers.


For the past few years, the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, which trains the state's local police and sheriff's deputies, has emphasized such skills.

The state academy relies heavily on a curriculum called "Blue Courage," developed by a former Aurora, Illinois, police commander with support from the U.S. Justice Department. It was first used in 2013 at Arizona's largest police academy, after local chiefs listened to a presentation.

"It struck a chord," said Lyle Mann, executive director of the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board. "There was this feeling that the militarization, the focus on officer safety, this whole confrontational kind of thing was morphing in a way that didn't feel good to those progressive chiefs."

The Justice Department has spent $1.5 million so far on Blue Courage, and it has been introduced at the New York City and Baltimore County police departments, as well as academies in Nebraska and Arizona.
 Kentucky's State Police Academy at Richmond considers itself the premier training facility in the nation. But it's not, and won't be until it incorporates Blue Courage.

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