State should mandate crisis-response training for police

Training police officers to de-escalate certain situations has become extremely vital in today’s world because of all the casualities related to police officers and citizens. Growing up I remember wanting to be a police officer. I looked at the profession as being “Superman” and that my duty was to stop the criminals and make everybody’s lives better. But this changed once I reached my teen years and I quickly realized reality and how my assumptions of the profession were nothing more than a fairy tale.

When I was 15 years old a friend of mine was throwing a house party and he invited everybody in the neighborhood to come over and enjoy themselves. I remember some guys coming over that were not invited and this quickly escalated into a big fight that left the whole house destroyed. My friend (Obsa) was new to the country and spoke very little English. He called 911 and within five minutes the police showed up at his front porch.

One of the officers quickly tackled Obsa and started assaulting him. Obsa was very confused and didn’t understand a word the officers were saying. They charged him with disorderly conduct and knocked two of his front tooth out. The charges were later dropped and that was the end of it. I believe with the right training, that whole situation could have been avoided and everything would have been much easier on both sides.

There is a bill currently being introduced that will require every police officer to receive training in crisis response, conflict management, and cultural diversity. I think this is very important because our goal is to reduce the number of police and civilian casualties, and to strengthen trust and relationships between Minnesota’s communities and the officers who serve them.

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