Police ‘interaction training’ will be worth it if it eases fear on all sides

DALLAS NEWS, 25 SEPT. 2017, FEAT. PROF. SETH STOUGHTON:

Beginning next year, Texas teenagers will start getting “how to” lessons in the startlingly obvious: how to get stopped by a cop.

Under a new state law, the 2018-19 school year will include instruction for public school and driver’s ed students in “interactions with police,” including safety recommendations and individual rights. At the same time, police officers will be given similar training about how they should behave during traffic stops and similar routine encounters with citizens.

Maybe this training is necessary, and it probably does no harm. Proposed curricula, which will be based on information already included in state driver-training manuals, is pretty straightforward stuff: Stay in your car, open the window, keep your hands visible. Be polite.

 

What I find distressing about all this is perhaps irrelevant, which is this: Such “training” might reinforce the notion that law enforcement officers and the communities they police are alien species, natural adversaries who inevitably misunderstand and mistrust one another.

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