May 30, 2020
We add our voices to condemn the appalling abuse of power and violation of public trust in the George Floyd case. It disgraces the 99% of honorable law enforcement men and women we work with in Utah and across America.
Over the past several years, our office has trained over 3,000 Utah officers in a virtual simulator/classroom on de-escalating violence and proper use of force. One of the architects of the program’s curriculum has consulted and trained cities like Ferguson and Baltimore on violence de-escalation, use of force and other critical incident scenarios to lessen the likelihood of violence between cops and the communities they are sworn to protect.
The Utah system was highlighted at a 2019 conference for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. By repetitions in the simulator, officers learn different techniques to diffuse confrontational or even routine situations they may encounter on the job. This better protects them and those with whom they interact. Supported by feedback, video and classroom experiences, they are more prepared to react calmly, consistently and correctly.
Community leaders of Color including African American, Latino American, Asian Pacfic American, along with advocates from the disability community, school administrators, teachers, business and faith leaders, media, military, policy makers and others have also come through the simulator experience to provide feedback on training.
We will continue this training in Utah as a needed service to our community and hopefully find support for expansion. By doing so, we will hopefully avoid ever having an egregious case of abuse like George Floyd’s death.