- Jan 19, 2019
- Reaction score
Are you kidding me? Is this what it has come to? All this feel good BS about "he only had a knife"! "Why did you kill him?"
Mental health and use of forceRight now, we are living in a society that is trying to normalize mental health crisis and adult temper tantrums. The numbers suggest that 1 in 4 arrests involve a mental health issue and at least 12% of all people entering the mental health “system” are introduced to it by the police. It appears that this rate has increased over time.
Even if the officer has done all they can do to negotiate and de-escalate in a given situation, they are often forced to exercise a lethal force option. This isn’t something we can readily communicate to the “Why don’t you shoot him in the leg?” public, but our training needs to include this fact also. Otherwise, officers exercising force options would never find closure on some incidents.
Social perception and threatIn an experiment on social perception of threat, scientists showed computer generated faces to research subjects, and asked them to decide which faces appeared “threatening.” These faces were designed by the researchers, and ranged from “threatening” to “harmless.”
Subjects were shown fewer and fewer threatening faces over time. Subjects tended to expand their definition of threatening. The number of threats a subject had perceived depended on how many threats the subjects had seen lately. In another study, it was found that experienced officers make better decisions and shoot more accurately than rookies, given the same potentially lethal encounter.
The truth is, training in decision making, both threat and de-escalation, improves the overall response for law enforcement officers. The best thing an agency can do is to provide their officers with a wide variety of training scenarios, and integrate this training into an officer’s career survival plan.