JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission has voted to require annual training in de-escalation techniques and recognizing implicit bias for all Missouri police officers.
Missouri officers will take a one-hour course in each area as part of their required 24 hours of annual continuing education training, according to a press release.
“At its June meeting, I challenged the POST Commission to take a leading role in advancing the training Missouri provides its officers and equip them to improve relations with the public,” Governor Mike Parson said. “I applaud the commissioners for following through on that challenge and carefully considering the issues faced by law enforcement today with input from both Missouri citizens and law enforcement officers.”
The rule-making process takes at least six months to complete. The new training requirement will apply to officers in 2022.
The commission also voted to grant preliminary approval for Lincoln University’s proposal to establish a law enforcement basic training academy. The training academy would be Missouri’s 20th and the nation’s first at a historically Black college and university, according to the release.
“Minority recruitment is probably the most difficult thing right now,” POST Commissioner and Springfield Police Department Chief Paul Williams said. “While Springfield had previously had African American officers in the past, there were none when I took the chief’s position. It took eight years to build up to five black officers.”
Licensing of a Lincoln University academy by the Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS) could come after a site visit and review of planned policies and procedures, proposed courses, lesson plans, instructor qualifications and the academy’s advisory board. The commission would then make a final recommendation to DPS on whether to grant the license.
The commission also appointed two committees to work on other proposals:
- Developing a course of instruction for Missouri’s basic training academies on the history of policing and minority community relations, including the origins of policing in the United States.
- Exploring ways to require law enforcement agencies to check with Missouri’s POST program on an applicant’s past history as an officer before hiring experienced officers.
The commission scheduled a meeting for Dec. 15 to review the committees’ work.
“The POST commission’s actions came as a result of thorough public discussions and reviewing the results of more than 2,000 surveys of the public and law enforcement officers on the subjects of law enforcement training and discipline in Missouri,” DPS Director Sandy Karsten said. “The Commission unanimously approved these moves as part of the effort to strengthen both law enforcement training and relations between officers and the communities we serve.”