New standards approved for police training in Missouri - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

New standards approved for police training in Missouri

(Source: Missouri Department of Public Safety) (Source: Missouri Department of Public Safety)

The Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission approved new standards aimed at improving peace officer training.

"A lot of times we find ourselves being last in line on a lot of issues but this time I think we're stepping up and taking a proactive approach," Sikeston Department of Public Safety Chief Drew Juden said.

For the first time in nearly 20 years, Missouri law enforcement training is undergoing a major change.

The new standards will require officers be trained in the areas of fair and impartial policing practices, tactical training, handling people with mental health and cognitive impairment issues, and officer well-being which includes mental health awareness.

"The more officers can know about these conditions and how to respond to them the better it's going be," John Hudak, executive director of the Community Caring Center in Cape Girardeau, said.

"They become aware of different resources that can back them up in the community. For the person on the other end it ensures they get treatment," Hudak said.

"We're not as well trained as we need to be to deal with that segment of the community," Juden said "I'm not sure we'll ever be we'll try to get there."

Training for tactical training will include de-escalation techniques, crisis management, critical thinking, and social intelligence.

The new standards are the result of several public meetings across the state in which members of the public were able to give their input along with members of law enforcement and other advocacy groups.

"I think it was just a time when it was brought to everyone's attention, we ought to look at this," Juden said.

The commission also raised the number of continuing education hours officers must receive each year to retain their licenses. The previous requirement was 48 hours every three years. Now officers will have to complete 24 hours of continuing education every year.

Of those 24 hours, at least two of them have to be in the areas of fair and impartial policing, tactical training, handling persons with mental health and cognitive impairment, and officer well-being.

"It's not going to hurt us. The more training we get the better we're going to be. And it's certainly going to be beneficial to the public and all law enforcement."

Department of Public Safety Director Lane Roberts said:

“The rules put forward today are the result of public meetings around the state with concerned citizens, rank-and-file officers, law enforcement leaders and training academy directors. They represent meaningful, achievable change that meets the Governor’s charge benefiting the public and Missouri’s law enforcement officers. I believe these changes in the critical areas of tactical training, fair and impartial policing, interacting with people with mental health issues, and officer health and well-being will help make the people of our state safer and strengthen law enforcement.”

State statutes require that the new POST rules will be filed with the Missouri Secretary of State and the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules.

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