Wisconsin police chiefs discuss training in the wake of Tyre Nichols’ death
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - As the investigation into the death of Tyre Nichols continues in Memphis, police chiefs across Southern Wisconsin detail how training and why they believe it begins with recruitment and continues through the life of an officer’s career.
“We’re not always the expert; we have to be okay with reaching outside,” said Monona Police Chief Brian Chaney.
He says the key to any officer’s training is not just marksmanship or tactical drills but also getting the best specialists and teachers to instruct things like de-escalation and assist people in a crisis.
“Critical incident training, crisis management, crisis intervention trauma-informed care, those are just as equally as important as firearms training or physical tactics training or defense and arrest tactics,” said Chaney.
Chaney says the department also emphasizes community engagement. For his officers and those apart of special units on demand for smaller departments in the Madison area, attending such events to spend time with the public outside of typical police work is mandatory once each quarter.
Beloit Police Chief Andre Sayles says training for officers is crucial to prepare officers for any situation, and safety for everyone involved in an interaction with police is the focal point. Sayles stresses that even in tactical training, which can include interactions with a dangerous suspect, the department preaches safety first for both the officer and the person they are engaging.
“How can we be safe and doing what we have to do and then also make sure the person that we are going hands-on with is safe, so we look at training opportunities every day,” said Sayles.
And the training, according to both police chiefs, starts with recruiting and finding the right people to become officers, the type of people who will grow under more training.
“It’s important to hire character and train skill,” said Chaney. “You can’t teach somebody to treat a human being with dignity and respect that comes in their DNA and their upbringing and what defines them, and so it’s important that we emphasize, you know, recruitment and hiring as equally as important as ongoing training.”
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