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Jason Hull

Jefferson City

Dear Editor:

I read with interest the news story about the Missouri Department of Public Safety Peace Officer Standards and Training survey that was completed in August 2020. A detail that stood out was the survey respondents and POST Commission both agree more de-escalation training for peace officers is needed. More funding, not less, is needed. How will the movement in some places to "defund the police" accomplish the purpose of more training?

If a person takes time to look at state and national crime statistics, they will find households with income below the federal poverty line both commit more crimes and are victims of more crimes. Any move to "defund the police" will impact the people most in need of law enforcement assistance.

I do not want to defend or excuse clear instances of law enforcement misconduct. If an individual will honestly consider the facts, there are very few instances of harm caused by law enforcement against people of any race who are not either resisting arrest or posing some other immediate threat to the law enforcement officer or the immediate community. It is just not true that law enforcement officers are patrolling communities seeking people of any race to victimize. To suggest otherwise is dishonest and is dividing our country.

If any person of any race wants to virtually eliminate their chance of harm caused by law enforcement officers, they should: 1. Not engage in criminal activity and 2. Comply with law enforcement directives. There is a time and place to dispute law enforcement officer conduct. Complaints (after the fact) can be made to the agency, to proper state oversight authorities or in a court of law.

In the heat of the moment, people who resist arrest and do not comply with law enforcement officer directives, risk harm to themselves and others. Law enforcement officers are trained to protect and serve. That training includes how to defend themselves and each other so they can safely return to their families each night. Thank you to all the men and women who serve.

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