NewsAmerica in Crisis


Derek Chauvin case has 'shaken law enforcement,' former Boca Raton police chief says

Changes in police training, education needed, says Andrew Scott
Derek Chauvin handcuffed after conviction on April 20, 2021
Posted at 4:02 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 18:21:19-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The image of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin being led out of the courtroom in handcuffs after his Tuesday conviction may have a lasting effect on law enforcement.

Chauvin's guilty verdict is now leading to a discussion about changes in how police are trained.

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"I think it's shaken law enforcement in general, and shaken police officers specifically," said former Boca Raton Police Chief Andrew Scott.

Scott is a consultant on law enforcement practices who says uniform change is needed in education and training.

Former Boca Raton Police Chief Andrew Scott
Former Boca Raton Police Chief Andrew Scott says law enforcement is too quick to use guns and other devices that cause a deadly situation.

"Training police officers has diminished over the course of the years relevant to dealing with hands-on individuals, and they're too quick to go to other tools that may imply deadly force when they don't need to," Scott said.

MORE: What's next in the Chauvin trial after his murder conviction?

The verdict in Minnesota and the attention of other deaths at the hands of police have stirred a sentiment for change.

"If we're looking at a starting point, I would maintain it starts with whom are we hiring," said Dr. Debbie Goodman.

Goodman is a criminologist at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens and an author on police ethics. She said training needs to focus on how lethal force is used.

Dr. Debbie Goodman, criminologist at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens
Dr. Debbie Goodman says police departments may need to screen applicants more closely to help prevent deadly incidents like the George Floyd case.

"A lot of these high profile cases, not just the Floyd case, but others that have proceeded, are also pointing toward a look at excessive force," Goodman said.

Goodman also said there needs to be more focus on training instead of the use of lethal force.

"We need to be examining from a training and an educational standpoint and then also concerns of implicit bias. We can't afford to have that in our system," Goodman said.

Scott said he would like to see police academy applicants complete four years of criminal justice education and departments conform to national accreditation for training.

"Police are trained that they must act immediately, and there are some scenes that they must, but many scenes they can sit back a bit and assess and deescalate the best they can," Scott said.

Training for police officers is usually about six months. Suggestions in the past of making that training longer have usually been met with resistance.