WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — While citizens across the nation protest recent tragedies, some questions are arising about how police officers are trained in the academy.
Like when are officers expected to use force.
Criminologist and expert on police training Dr. Alex Del Carmen said an officer is taught to de-escalate situations while simultaneously protecting themselves and those around them, including the suspect.
“Police officers have the control of the tempo,” Del Carmen said. “They have the control of the temperament of the scene.”
Many people across the country are pleading for answers, change, justice, all because of the lives that have been taken at the hands of police officers who have sworn to serve and protect.
Now they have questions on what exactly is taught in the academy.
“If the threat is at a level where somebody is just speaking loudly, being rude, the police officer is taught to use language, to use their voice to use a command structure to disarm the suspect,” Del Carmen said.
However, Del Carmen, who has taught more than 15,000 police officers, said he is concerned with the physical actions some officers take that does not align with defense tactics taught at the academy.
He uses the George Floyd case as an example.
“If you look across the United States in all almost 30,000 law enforcement agencies in the U.S. you will find that about 90% of them do not teach a technique that has to do with putting their knee on someone’s neck,” Del Carmen said. “Although in Minneapolis, apparently, that’s allowed and that’s acceptable, that is perplexing to the rest of us across the United States that such a technique would actually be allowed to be in place.”
Wichita Falls Police Training Officer Mark Wise said one of the most important things taught to recruits is professionalism and policing according to the law and to be in compliance with any interactions they have with citizens, including a suspect.
“We want to do that by trying to de-escalate the situation as much as possible if we can and only use any physical force that’s absolutely necessary when we have exhausted any other avenue that we have,” Wise said.
Wise said WFPD officers are community oriented.
“We want our officers to operate at the highest professional level that is possible, this is trying job,” Wise said. “It’s not an easy job and it is not a job for everyone so we have to keep our emotions in check and remember that we are here to serve the community.”
Wise said he is sure our local officers are dedicated to serve and protect Wichita Falls Citizens.