DRAPER, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – Acting fast in the face of danger was always part of the job description when it comes to enforcing the law, but as public perception of police changes, so does training.
Tuesday, the Draper City Police Dept. is introducing a new type of training for officers.
Good4Utah’s Ali Monsen sat in on the first 30 minutes of the training to observe, as the department’s patrol division took a look at its work from a different perspective.
“Is the [public] criticism fair?” Deputy Chief John Eining asked the trainees.
“Sometimes,” someone replied.
It is that kind of candid, open dialogue that Eining encouraged the officers to embrace, in order to make the training effective. Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics (ICAT) is meant to give responders more tools, skills, and options for handling intense situations, especially among people having mental or behavioral crises. The curriculum also emphasizes deescalation skills and transparency with the public after use-of-force.
“Before… you could tell the public, ‘It’s under investigation,’ and they trusted you. Now, people have information at their fingertips, they want answers now,” one officer pointed out.
The group dissected high-profile shootings and past events that sparked national outrage.
“Is there anybody in this room that honestly believes that everything you’ve seen in the news in the last year has been justified?” Eining asked the group.
“No, there’s been some incidents…” someone responded.
“There’s some things that we definitely could’ve done better, right?” Eining said.
Police admit it has been a tough year for law enforcement.
“You can’t go through what’s happened over the last little while and not be frustrated, but there’s frustrations on both sides,” Eining acknowledged.
They say their goal is to continue adapting as society progresses and build bridges everywhere they can.
“Is there anything your officers would like to say to us as members of the media? What do you hope happens?” Good 4 Utah’s Ali Monsen asked.
“I think what we would want — and what you guys do more often than not — is give a true accounting of what happened. I used the phrase down below in the training that it’s important we don’t concentrate on inflammatory information, but rather, information,” Eining said.
Eining wrapped up his discussion with reporters by saying he is grateful to serve in Utah, where there are higher levels of trust and respect for law enforcement. He says his department is always open to questions and concerns members of the public bring to them. In return, Eining asks that the public will wait to draw conclusions until after they have all the facts.