Wednesday, March 07, 2007

30 States put new law officers on the street with little or no training

This should scare the shit out of you.
Four months into his job, a police officer in Mississippi holds a gun to the head of an unarmed teenager and puts him in a chokehold. A novice officer in Illinois gets into a car chase that kills a driver. And a new campus policeman in Indiana shoots an unarmed student to death.

Some are blaming these harrowing episodes on what an Associated Press survey found is a common practice across the United States: At least 30 states let some newly hired local law enforcement officers hit the streets with a gun, a badge and little or no training.

These states allow a certain grace period — six months or a year in most cases, two years in Mississippi and Wisconsin — before rookies must be sent to a police academy. In many cases, these recruits are supposed to be supervised by a full-fledged officer, but that does not always happen.

The risks, some say, are high.

If not the danger to the public, the potential lawsuits should scare the police agencies. These people have no training about what is legal for them to do and what isn't. I think this will be self-correcting.

(read more)

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