Is better pay and training the key to better policing in America?
|Gwen Baumgardner: SOMETIMES THEY’RE THE HERO …SOMETIMES THE VILLAIN.
CLEARLY, IT’S NOT A PERFECT SYSTEM
BUT HOW DO YOU GUARANTEE POLICE OFFICERS ARE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF JUSTICE?
Omaha Deputy Chief Greg Gonzalez: “I wish I had a crystal ball for hiring police officers’’
DEPUTY CHIEF GREG GONZALEZ has been with THE OMAHA POLICE DEPARTMENT FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS.
I ALSO SPOKE WITH MARIA HABERFELD- ONCE A POLICE LIEUTENANT IN ISREAL, SHE’S NOW A PROFESSOR IN NEW YORK… WRITING ABOUT POLICE STANDARDS AROUND THE WORLD.
Maria Haberfeld: “No democratic country looks at American police training and sees it as a model.”
Baumgardner: HER SOLUTION FOR BETTER POLICING here LIES IN HOW OTHER COUNTRIES PROTECT AND SERVE. BUT IS IT VIABLE FOR AMERICAN DEPARTMENTS? LET’S TAKE A LOOK.
NATS- ‘’defund the police!”
Baumgardner: Lately THE PHRASE ‘DEFUND THE POLICE’ HAS BEEN TOSSED AROUND BUT SEVERAL POLICE DEPARTMENTS in other countries ACTUALLY DO THE OPPOSITE. THEY INVEST IN THEIR OFFICERS, BOTH IN SALARY AND TRAINING.
STARTING WITH PAYCHECKS. THE AVERAGE SALARY FOR AN OFFICER IN THE U.S. IS ABOUT 69-THOUSAND DOLLARS. WHILE HIGHER THAN MANY AMERICANS’ PAY STUBS, LAW ENFORCMENT COMES WITH A HIGH RISK, HIGH PRESSURE JOB DESCRIPTION.
SOME COUNTRIES ARE WILLING TO PAY EVEN MORE TO RECRUIT AND RETAIN OFFICERS.
IN SWITZERLAND, THE AVERAGE SALARY IS ALMOST 99-THOUSAND DOLLARS. ABOUT 30- THOUSAND MORE THAN THEIR AMERICAN COUNTERPARTS.
IN CANADA, OFFICERS CAN EXPECT TO EARN 6 FIGURES…AND THAT’S BEFORE OVERTIME PAY KICKS IN.
BUT ACCORDING TO OUR EXPERTS, THE REAL INVESTMENT SHOULD BE IN TRAINING.
Gonzalez: “You don’t wake up in the morning and say you want to get involved in a police related incident and be on TV. But we do have to make sure they’re trained.’’
Baumgardner: THE QUESTION IS, ARE THEY?
“Compared to the rest of the world how does America average?”
Haberfeld: “The worst! It doesn’t average! It really doesn’t. We have the worst… in terms of the length, in terms of the content, the topics that are taught.”
Baumgardner: HARSH WORDS, BUT HERE’S WHY SHE SAYS THEM. IN OTHER COUNTRIES…PARTICULARLY EUROPE, TRAINING CAN TAKE YEARS.
OFFICERS IN FINLAND AND NORWAY GRADUATE FROM A 3 YEAR ‘POLICE UNIVERSITY’. IN GERMANY, IT TAKES UP TO 4 YEARS TO EARN A BADGE.
NOW COMPARE IT TO THE US. IN GEORGIA, YOU CAN BECOME AN OFFICER IN AS LITTLE AS 11 WEEKS…ACCORDING TO THE STATE’S TRAINING CENTER WEBSITE. MEANING, IT OFTEN TAKES MORE TRAINING HOURS TO BECOME A CERTIFIED HAIR STYLIST OR PLUMBER THAN A MEMBER OF LAW ENFORCEMENT.
IT’S NOT ONLY THE LENGTH OF TRAINING THAT DIFFERS, IT’S ALSO THE CONTENT. THIS YEAR THE FOCUS FOR MANY AMERICAN DEPARTMENTS WILL BE ON DE-ESCALATION. IT’S SOMETHING MANY EUROPEAN MODELS HAVE ALWAYS DONE.
Haberfeld: ‘’You have to be able to communicate effectively with the people that you expect to comply. And if you don’t know how to do it, you’re very quick to resort to the physical force, right?’’
Baumgardner: LET’S LOOK AT THE STATS.
HERE’S A BREAKDOWN FROM 2019.
DEATHS BY POLICE HAPPEN AT A SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER RATE IN AMERICA VERSUS SEVERAL OTHER COUNTRIES.
BACK IN OMAHA, DEPUTY CHIEF GONZALEZ ADDRESSED THE CRITICISM OF AMERICAN POLICE TRAINING…AND SAYS HE’S WORKING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
OMAHA RECRUITS TRAIN FOR 2 MONTHS LONGER THAN
THE STATE REQUIREMENTS. AND ALL OFFICERS HAVE
MANDATED COURSES EVERY YEAR.
Gonzalez: ‘’We know nationally, what has happened with other police departments, I follow it daily. And so based on those critical incidents, we train.’’
Baumgardner: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE KEY TO BETTER POLICING?
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