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In the future, Missouri law enforcement officers could have more de-escalation and racial bias training in their annual continuing education.

That's the recommendation made by the Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission, after receiving more than 1,600 public responses and almost 470 law enforcement responses to surveys this summer.

Most law enforcement officers are professional to people of all races and capable of dealing with a wide variety of situations, something the survey seems to reflect.

But a few bad cops sully the reputation of law officers overall.

The survey showed that the largest segment of respondents (30 percent) said they have no concerns with law enforcement in their area. The second biggest response said there are too few officers (27 percent). Fewer than one in five respondents had concerns about the training officers receive or that officers act in an unprofessional manner.

But we get the calls for such increased training, and we believe they have the potential to benefit the organization.

Widespread protests this year against police violence and racial injustice led the POST Commission to schedule surveys and listening sessions on what officers and members of the public think about training and law enforcement in general.

As we recently reported, the POST Commission's duties and powers include establishing minimum standards for basic law enforcement training, setting the minimum number of hours for basic training, establishing continuing education requirements, establishing minimum standards for law enforcement training instructor, and advising the Department of Public Safety director on law enforcement standards and training.

Additional training on and de-escalation and racial bias could go a long way toward not only law enforcement professionalism but toward the public's attitude and trust of police.

News Tribune

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