Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Play

Massachusetts steps up for Puerto Rico, the White House convenes its first hunger conference in more than 50 years, and hydroponics could be the future of tomatoes in California.

Play

Arizona's Sen. Kyrsten Simema defends the filibuster, the CBO says student loan forgiveness could cost $400 billion, and whistleblower Edward Snowden is granted Russian citizenship.

Play

The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts two winters across the U.S., the Inflation Reduction Act could level the playing field for rural electric co-ops, and pharmacies are dwindling in rural America.

State Legislators Eye Emotional-Intelligence Training for Police

Play

Thursday, September 9, 2021   

By Troy Pierson
Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration.


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Last summer's widespread protests were a call for increased police accountability. Now state legislators are proposing legislation that would require law enforcement to receive emotional-intelligence training to better handle themselves while on duty.

House Bill 362, which Rep. Catherine Ingram, D-Cincinnati, introduced in June, aims to create a multi-step training program that educates officers on how to manage their emotions while dealing with the public.

"This bill is specifically for peace officers' training," Ingram said. "But this kind of training, this kind of awareness of yourself also goes along with everything else that's going on. The pandemic actually exacerbated things that we were talking about when this bill first came to fruition, when we first started talking about it. ... Even more so with our police officers, because they're out in the field every day, but they're people just like the rest of us. They have hardships, they have issues and they have family lives and all those other things that they need to deal with."

The call for increased training stems from recent public concerns on how police perform their duties, which drove citizens across the country to participate in Black Lives Matter protests last summer after the death of George Floyd.

According to the National Institute of Justice, an agency that researches the impact of crime for the U.S. Department of Justice, the stress police face while working can result in serious health complications, such as PTSD. A lack of funding also places departments under stress to provide training for their officers.

"What we keep getting tasked for with law enforcement is to do more and more with less [funding]," said William Balling, the Sidney, Ohio, chief of police. "Right now, law enforcement is in a very dynamic situation for different reasons. It's hard to attract and keep officers [with] the pressures that they're under, with the stress they're under, [and] the dangers they have to go through and the different conditions of the job. It's getting harder to get people in, and when you have that, you're stressing the current officers and the staff to the point that it's a rubber band almost ready to break."

Legislators are seeking advice on how to train law enforcement from leadership professionals such as Jack Slavinksi, who has worked with agencies such as the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police to implement emotional intelligence training programs among their staff.

In a June 2020 editorial in the Columbus Dispatch, FOP/Ohio Labor Council Executive Director Gwen Callender praised Slavinski's training model as a successful means of educating officers to deal with themselves and the public.

"Police officers have tough jobs that are under constant pressure, stress [and] uncertainty . . . so there's this constant pressure in their role, and it's definitely on the increase because of what's going on in our society," Slavinksi said. "So that affects their overall ability to make decisions, to think clearly, to adapt, to use judgment to de-escalate things. So emotional intelligence and the resiliency-building elements of it to deal with stress and adversity and anxiety and all that enables them to better manage their brain functions, so that they're able to maximize their physical processes."

Balling said there needs to be a solid foundation for funding projects such as emotional-intelligence training, so legislators do not have to revisit funding multiple times when appropriating budgets for law enforcement. He recommended using surcharge programs such as Kentucky's Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund, which states use to generate revenue outside of taxes. Balling says programs such as surcharges can continually bankroll training for officers.

"That money then goes into a fund that's used every single year for training," Balling said, "and then the state could decide what is the training that's needed to help fund the training for all officers across the state. And this would be a fund that wouldn't be dependent on officers writing tickets or arresting people because that always leads to a bad taste in citizens' mouths; but this could be a dedicated fund that's not in the general budget, that is nondependent on a budget year to year to year to be approved, but it's a consistent revenue stream."

While Ingram said there currently are no appropriations in the bill to cover funding for this training, she aims to advocate funding "from every direction possible" so a pilot project can be established.

The bill will be revisited in September when the General Assembly returns to session.

This collaboration is produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.

References:  
House Bill 367 2021

get more stories like this via email
Groups that track disinformation say purveyors sometimes back up their claims by referencing fake "think tanks," or by linking to other pages on their own website. (Feng Yu)

Social Issues

A Nevada democracy watchdog group said social media, blogs, websites and hyperpartisan news organizations are all working overtime to spread …


Social Issues

Education officials in Ohio want state leaders to invest in free school meals for all students. Pandemic-era federal waivers enabling schools to …

Environment

Agriculture researchers say if the U.S. wants more farmers to adopt climate-friendly practices, they will need to be offered some proven incentives…


Researchers say if states required more lighting and reflection on farm vehicles, traffic crashes involving this heavy equipment could decrease by more than half. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

As the fall harvest season takes shape in South Dakota, an agricultural specialist said there are many ways motorists and farmers can avoid crashes …

Social Issues

Massachusetts residents are being asked to step up, just as they did five years ago, to help their fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. The …

Nearly 640,000 people were considered food insecure in Washington state in 2020, according to the nonprofit Feeding America. (timonko/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

It's been more than 50 years since the White House held a gathering about the effects of hunger across the nation. In 1969, the White House held its …

Social Issues

By Caleigh Wells for KCRW.Broadcast version by Suzanne Potter for California News Service reporting for the KCRW-Public News Service Collaboration Wh…

Social Issues

As the midterm elections approach, there are concerns about whether Latino voters will turn out as much as they have in past elections. In New York…

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021