New York City police officers will soon undergo three days of annual training designed to teach the proper use of force following the chokehold death of an unarmed man earlier this summer. The announcement was made public by police commissioner William Bratton today.
The training initiative is marked as part of an overall campaign to amend community relations and improve the culture of the department. The program is slated to open with a pilot program this November. Three precincts will launch the effort before it eventually expands to include a pool of 20,000 officers whom are regularly assigned patrol.
The training program will include a course on how to engage the public, methods to de-escalate situations that have grown tense and finally how to use force when deemed necessary. Presently, the training solely consists of firearms training. According to reports, the department will also begin testing body-worn cameras within several precincts.
The move for additional training stems from public backlash regarding a man’s death at the hands of law enforcement earlier in July. Popular opinion suggests the death was a result of police negligence, an officer applying force in an unnecessary situation.
The man was confronted by police who said he’d been selling loose cigarettes near his home. A cellphone captured video reveals the 43-year-old man repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe” prior to what medical examiners ruled a homicide.
In addressing the media, Bratton announced, “I’m fully confident that through partnership and collaboration with the community, we can uphold the law, protect human life and ensure the safety of the police and the public alike.”
Bratton has since called for no less than $25 million to fund the acquisition of additional instructors and overtime to facilitate posts while officers undergo their training. He’s made clear his intention to move rookie cops to precincts with active mentors, whereas they are currently funneled into high-crime areas following their graduation from academy.
Original story reported by Fox NY.