Is Excessive Force Necessary From Police Units? Apparently Not.
Since 2015, the Salt Lake City Police Department in Utah has not killed a single person, reports Fox 13 News.
Police Chief Mike Brown told the news station,
The Salt Lake City Police Department is probably one of the leading agencies in the country as far as how we train and deploy and use these tactics to de-escalate and save lives.
Two tactics in their de-escalation training include delivering voice commands and the practice of "giving and taking ground" which establishes distance between the officer and suspect that gives a moment of think-time for officers.
With over a year of the training under the department's belt, the officers have managed to refrain from killing anyone—even in instances when using lethal force would have been justified.
The force has also created a "de-escalation award" to officers who put their training to work in the field and have awarded 37 since June.
The "woke" thing to say is that they don't deserve applause for doing the right thing.
But the human thing to say is that I want to visit Salt Lake City and drive a rental car down their streets with my music at a decent level — just so I know what it feels like to not fear an interaction with police as I sing my favorite song in the driver's seat.
Not killing people when they don't deserve to die should be expected, but headlines and hashtags have shown we can't always expect to be protected by police officers.
That's why there is a "Black Lives Matter" movement and why black parents have to talk to their children about what to do when they encounter police.
The Salt Lake City police may not deserve applause but they definitely serve as models.
Every bit of how our legal system is set up would support the Salt Lake City Police Department continuing business as usual.
We live in a world that has made a brotherhood amongst police departments acceptable. The brotherhood fosters a culture of groupthink, while hindering accountability for death by unnecessary force. Instead of addressing racialized police violence, people created a "Blue Lives Matter" hashtag on Twitter to co-opt the "Black Lives Matter" one.
In California, Senate Bill 1286, which would have required police in California to make public the "records of investigations and discipline in police shootings," was shot down, further sanctioning the harmful "code of silence" that police adhere to.
The Salt Lake City Police Department is turning all of that opposition on its head with their de-escalation tactics, a move that says they hear the people and respect life.
Their re-training proves that protesters are being heard.
Those who have chosen to protest police violence have been met with plenty of criticism.
Tomi Lahren, former host of "Tomi" on TheBlaze TV, infamously compared Black Lives Matter protestors to the Ku Klux Klan, a historically violent white supremacy group.
Changes made in the Salt Lake City Police Department prove that the national conversation about police brutality is making an impact and inciting change.
Note that the police chief of the department did not say any changes in the crime rate have taken place or that they have received less 911 calls. He simply shared that the police are doing their jobs differently, which has resulted in lives being preserved.
This zero death count also proves the argument that you can have effective policing without unnecessary force is not a utopian wish; it's a solution.
It feels good to know that there is a police department that is willing to change their entire culture to improve their communities.
Now we just need the rest of the departments in America to get it together.