Changes to law enforcement training approved by POST Commission

Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 9:09 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3) - This summer, more than 1,600 Missourians responded to a survey about their recent interactions with police.

About 450 of them said they wanted to see some additional training.

“Some of the other topics that I think we really need to act on sooner rather than later probably is de-escalation, and racial bias," said Sheriff Mark Owen, Platte County Sheriff and POST Commission Chair.

The POST Commission voted to add a requirement of a one-hour training session on de-escalation tactics and a course to help recognize implicit racial bias to an officer’s annual continuing education.

“Currently there are 24 hours requiring on an annual basis for all officers. That will be inclusive of the 24 hours," said Sandra Karsten, Director of Missouri’s Department of Public Safety.

It also added a course at the academy level, an hour long history course of policing in minority communities.

Under Missouri law, law enforcement agencies do not have to perform background checks for new officers hired. Some agencies, though, do.

“There’s a lot of places that don’t do that and they may hire somebody that we turned down, for example, for a reason, but I see them get hired somewhere else. Or, they’ve jumped four or five times between departments, and they’ve left under resignation possibly, but there’s no follow up to find out what that reason was," Owen said.

The POST Commission will set up a committee to study what is and isn’t already being done, with hopes to get those background checks required.

Karsten said listening to the survey and putting these changes into place is important.

“It adds to the professionalism anytime that you listen to your constituents and those who you serve, And you put in action what their feedback was talking to," Karsten said.

There’s is a lengthy bureaucratic process, including legislature approval, but the POST Commission and Department of Public Safety expect these changes to be implemented in 2021.

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