FORT PIERCE, Fla. — With the eyes of the country on the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged in the death of George Floyd last summer, we went to Fort Pierce to see if training for local law enforcement would change in the wake of that tragedy.
In the defense tactics room, and in the classroom, two dozen men and women who want to protect and serve are being put through their paces.
“We have a strong obligation that we’re creating the best recruit we can for the local agencies,” said Wendy Morse.
Morse is the new Director for the Criminal Justice Training Institute at Indian River State College’s Public Safety Training Complex.
She spent more than 25 years with the West Palm Beach Police Department, and hired many recruits.
“I have a recruit that’s 48 years old. So we have recruits of all ages who want to get into law enforcement,” said Morse.
Morse says the George Floyd case, while not top of mind, could down the road change some lesson plans.
“What happens in the world of law enforcement, is when there are shifts in the way we do business, that becomes more of a political decision that’s made.”
In fact, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is looking at its entire teaching curriculum right now.
Changes are being discussed before the legislature.
Topics and themes that would be added include, empathy, implicit and explicit bias, and serving your community.
“You’ll see cops all over the country trying to be better as a result from the lessons learned over what’s recently transpired,’” said Morse.
As of now, there are no problems when it comes to getting police recruits on the Treasure Coast.
Morse says what’s key is making sure their training matches what their real world partners are engaged with.
The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office just announced they were going to outfit their officers with tasers and body cams. Morse says they’re in the process of getting their own body cameras as well.