Working Group Gives Recommendations on Reducing Officer-Involved Shootings
A Minnesota working group on reducing police-involved deadly force encounters is recommending that officers should get better training in de-escalation skills and in dealing with people experiencing mental health crises.
Minnesota’s two highest-ranking Black law enforcement officials, Attorney General Keith Ellison and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington, formed the working group following several high-profile fatal shootings of Black men by police officers. Harrington said at a news conference Monday that the group believes the proposals, if implemented, will prevent and reduce officer-involved shootings.
Minnesota has had more than 100 officer-related shootings over the past five years.
In all today, the group released 28 recommendations plus additional steps for achieving them. Some of their key recommendations include:
- Creating an independent specialized unit within the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to investigate all officer-involved shootings and other uses of force that result in death or severe bodily injury,
- Creating a liaison position in the BCA to work with families of those involved in deadly encounters with police to ensure that they’re treated with dignity and respect, kept informed, and referred to any services they might need,
- Training for all officers in de-escalation skills and tactics to reduce the need to resort to force, especially when responding to people in mental health crises, and adoption of the “co-responder model,” which pairs selected officers with mental health professionals on police calls,
- Evaluating the use of body-worn cameras at law enforcement agencies that now use them, reporting the results by 2022, and funding their use statewide if they’re found to be effective,
- Promoting the well-being and safety of police, and
- Expanding and promoting increased awareness of existing resources to improve the mental health and wellness of first responders.
Harrington said his agency will take the lead in working to implement the recommendations, some of which will require changes in laws or more money.