‘Social Workers of Last Resort': Police Adopt New Training Techniques

Governing

By Matt Vasilogambros

More than 200 police recruits in black uniforms and tight haircuts turn in unison, marching toward the flagpole on a sunny May morning at the Washington state training center next to SeaTac Airport. Before they say the Pledge of Allegiance, they drop to the concrete and deliver 20 pushups in front of onlooking command staff — just a small slice of the 10,000 reps they’ll do over the next 90 days. But this isn’t the bit of basic police training that most in the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission leadership are focused on now. By early June, leaders need to create a new set of rules for training officers statewide on de-escalation techniques, mandated by a state ballot initiative and legislation that passed by wide margins in the past six months.

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