Yesterday, Speaker Paul Ryan met with police chiefs from across the country in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. The meeting was designed to discuss the growing tensions between police officers and members of the community.
“We’re not here to ask for anything. We’re here because we look to you as an American leader, and we think there’s a good story here,” Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), told Speaker Ryan.
PERF, which is made up of 18,000 police departments nationwide, has a number of new training methods – known as Integrating Communications, Assessment, and Tactics – that they’re hoping to spread across the country.
According Wexler, over 400 police officers have undergone the new training, including six offers from Janesville PD. David Moore, Janesville Chief of Police, told the Associated Press that he plans on sending every one of his officers to this new training over the next three years. He’s hopeful other police departments across the nation will follow suit.
Although Ryan made it very clear that he doesn’t want to federalize police procedures, he wants to make sure police officers across the country are doing everything in their power to de-escalate growing tensions.
“(Ryan) has never been interested in federalizing local functions, and he considers police a local function,” said Burlington, Vermont police chief Brandon del Pozo. “But he was interested in hearing what local police have done sort of on a voluntary basis to improve use-of-force outcomes in policing. We were just explaining the curriculum.”
The discussion focused on techniques and confidence-building measures at the local level.
“We want to make sure that this kind of dialogue occurs, to get best practices, to get de-escalation techniques and practices taught and transmitted throughout the country,” Speaker Ryan mentioned, in part.
Members of the discussion included: Burlington, Vt. Police Chief Brandon del Pozo; Tucson, Ariz. Police Chief Chris Magnus and New Orleans, La. Police Superintendent Michael Harrison.