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Deescalating some groups encounters with police focus of meeting

first_imgBill Langfitt, whose son Billy Langfitt was shot and killed by a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy in March 2018, has called for better police training since his son’s death.“If we’re going to encounter police officers as judge, jury and executioner, we must demand exceptionalism,” Langfitt said.Langfitt also recognized that “the days of the ‘Andy Griffith Show,’ ” featuring an affable small-town sheriff as the lead character, are over.“There are positive interactions with police officers, but we don’t always hear about them,” Langfitt said.Langfitt’s comments came during a two-hour discussion Thursday night about how agencies can best train police under Initiative 940 mandates. Notes from the discussion, hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness and De-Escalate Washington at Bridgeview Community Center, will be presented to the state Criminal Justice Training Commission.Two representatives from the commission, along with Vancouver police Sgt. Pat Kennedy, were some of the roughly 50 people present. Other than to answer a couple of questions, they mainly took notes and heard from representatives of various social groups.Much of the discussion wrapped around how police can better approach different groups of people in high-stress situations.“Different cultures express fear and anger in different ways,” said Ophelia Noble, executive director of The Noble Foundation, a social justice organization.Braunwynn Franklin, whose family grapples with mental illness, added to that.“It’s not just cultural competence. It’s trauma-informed training,” Franklin said.Franklin also said certain communities speak in different tones that can be perceived as threatening. She said she has younger male nephews that are afraid to speak with police.“Black people, we do speak loudly,” Franklin said. “They’ve been uncomfortable speaking with their hearts because they fear for their lives.”Jovian John, representing the Chuukese community, referred to the Feb. 19 Vancouver police fatal shooting of 16-year-old Clayton Joseph. Police say Joseph was brandishing a knife at the time of the shooting.last_img read more