Police training recommended

After a police officer killed a young man who apparently had Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, the Boise (ID, US) Community Ombudsman has recommended the officers receive additional training in handling unusual situations, according to a report by Aileen Simborio KTRV-TV. Ombudsman Pierce Murphy reviewed the incident in which officer Andrew S. Johnson shot Matthew Jones in December of 2004.

The 16-year-old was shot by Johnson on Dec. 18, 2004, after responding to the Jones family home at the request of Matthew’s father. Johnson shot Jones four times, killing him, after Johnson says he was attacked by Jones, who was carrying a World War Two Japanese rifle with a bayonet attached.

Murphy believes Johnson did not follow proper procedure when he responded. That’s why Murphy is recommending officers go through more training, specifically implementing what’s called a Crisis Intervention Team model which would help officers better respond to situations involving people suffering from mental illness or significant emotional disturbance.

Surely, responding to a situation such as this one is difficult for officers. They are accustomed to demanding (and obtaining) immediate compliance with orders, but most anyone who’s worked with kids with EBD knows that compliance is a common problem. Furthermore, confrontation rarely brings compliance; rather it often causes kids to escalate.

There are curricula available and in use for helping officers of the law to handle individuals with disabilities. Examples are here, here, and here; there are many others. Do you think your community should promote use of these curricula? Would using them reduce the chances of another child being killed? I hope so.

Link to Ms. Simborio’s story. She provided a link to Ombudsman Murphey’s full report, too.

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