Reform police training: Why it's a conservative cause

Changes in weapons, tactics, and training birthed the mindset. Reforming all three could help to combat it. To start, the dispersion of cheap military weaponry to police departments must stop. Police ought to be put to the discipline of deciding whether their local situation really justifies the cost of armored personnel carriers.

Better training is also key. Police training should incorporate graduate school–type elements, with an emphasis on academic training, “scenario-based” role-playing, and developing mentor–mentee relationships between experienced officers and recruits and junior officers. However, better training will go only so far — we need to ensure that we select the best officers to be trained. Emphasis should be placed on selection criteria consistent with the hiring (and promotion) of officers who are in tune with de-escalation techniques, helpers, and calm personalities.

Finally, we need real, sustained de-escalation training in police academies and among active officers. Departments should accept that, within reason, the onus is on the officer to defuse potentially explosive incidents, slow the pace of police–civilian encounters, and take the time to resolve encounters before they turn violent.