Response To Mistakes: Less Training?

By | April 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

Humans are fallible. There is no way to be 100% certain that you are right. But there is a way to be 100% certain that you are wrong: contradict yourself. Then you are certain to be wrong at least half the time. And if you work hard at it, you can be wrong all the time. There are many examples, but here are two prominent ones.

A few years ago, a young Black man was shot to death in Fruitvale Station, Oakland, CA, by a rapid transit police officer who mistook his pistol for a Taser. And now another young Black man was shot to death in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, MN, by a police officer who mistook her pistol for a Taser. There may well be other examples that did not make the national news.

There are logical responses to these tragedies: First one should make sure that non-lethal weapons are clearly distinguishable from firearms – by location on the equipment belt, by color, by weight, and most important, by feel. And second, one should provide more money for realistic training. The obvious solution to mistakes is better training.

But there are also illogical responses to these tragedies: Defund and demoralize the police. If there is less money and time for training, and there are fewer and less qualified officers, what would you expect to happen? Fewer serious errors, or more?

If people (1) complain about police making errors, and (2) cut funds for training, they are contradicting themselves. Such illogical people make poor role models and really lousy leaders.


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