The lack of oversight of police training is becoming more problematic, reports the Washington Post, as the national push for police reform boosts the opportunities that ex-officers, ex-soldiers and others see in providing in-service education.
The International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training is the closest thing in the United States to a national regulatory group for police training. But its national certification program has certified only about 5 to 10 percent of the law enforcement industry’s available training courses, chief executive Mike Becar said.
The founder of Street Cop Training — whose programs are accepted by the state of New Jersey — left policing less than a year before his township settled an excessive-force lawsuit against him. Texas and Montana have certified training that is offered by Richard Mack, a former sheriff who has built a reputation pushing back against gun-safety laws and mask requirements and markets himself as “the constitutional sheriff.” This November, a hacked membership list for the Oath Keepers, a far-right, anti-government group that participated in the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, showed that 65 members had worked as law enforcement trainers.
“Because of all the police reform that’s been in the news, a lot of them are seeing where they can make a dollar by offering some kind of training,” Becar said.
The U.S. Justice Department issues tens of millions of dollars in grants annually that police departments can use for training, but the agency leaves it up to regional and local governments to determine what that training should be. Experts say it is inevitable that at least some federal money ends up funding training that emphasizes violence over de-escalation and demonizes social-justice groups. The department declined to comment.
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