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Cornyn, Houston leaders applaud $124M in federal funds granted for Texas police de-escalation training
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Mayor Sylvester Turner's task force for police reform began because of George Floyd's murder at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer and now more conversations are taking place after the police beating death of Tyre Nichols in Memphis. New federal police funding is aimed at a proactive solution, instead of reacting to another wrongful use of force. 

Funding to promote law enforcement de-escalation was approved in December and U.S. Sen. John Cornyn spoke with Houston leaders and law enforcement Tuesday at a roundtable discussion about its importance. 

The Law Enforcement De-escalation Training Act, which was introduced by Cornyn, requires the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to work with law enforcement, mental health organizations and advocacy groups to develop skills such as training on de-escalation and safe response to mental health crises. The law authorizes $124 million in federal grant funding over four years for training. The specific distribution of the funding was not announced Tuesday. The National Institute of Justice and Government Accountability Office is required to evaluate the training 

“This is a significant step in the right direction — that is to train police officers to de-escalate confrontations with suspects, whether they're going through a mental health crisis, or any other set of circumstances. And the goal of course, is to make sure that force is only used when absolutely necessary,” Cornyn said.

Bishop James Dixon II, president of the NAACP Houston Branch, said he has been stopped by police at least three times in the last three years and believes his own de-escalation tactics helped keep encounters from taking a dangerous turn.  

"This law will serve to educate more intensely and expand what departments like HPD are able to do and have been doing," he said. 

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Everyone’s top goal, for both the citizens and police officer, is to be able to go home safely to their families, said Larry Payne, chair of Turner’s task force on police reform. 

So far, Cornyn said, the Houston Police Department is already a national model for de-escalation training, but not every department has the resources and leadership to be able to tackle it. 

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Houston Police Chief Troy Finner said officers go through de-escalation training classes and use virtual reality to aid in simulating scenarios. 

“Whenever we can de-escalate, we need to de-escalate,” Finner said. 

Doug Griffith, president of the Houston Police Officers Union, recognized the funding will be helpful for smaller agencies, because the first thing to go in budget cuts is training hours for a lot of these agencies, he said. 

“We as citizens and constituents want and demand from our police officers accountability, transparency and trust. A part of achieving these things is the relationships built, nurtured and maintained on mutual trust and respect, because nothing happens without trust,” Payne said. 

At least half that money should have gone to teaching Houstonians not to break the law and fight or run from the cops.
Posted by Gorski at 3/3/2023 8:51:25 AM

Well I have never worked law enforcement in Texas but in the state I worked in we had de-escalation training and training on dealing with mental subjects you don't stop criminals by say oh you poor thing I am so sorry you committed a crime here is a get out of jail free card so you can go hurt another person NO you must have good men willing to do violence and use force to stop a criminal if you believe other wise you are fooling your self and if you think I am wrong do everyone a big favor and put the badge on and do the job before you try to tell someone else how to do it
Posted by Cracker lawson at 3/9/2023 11:10:22 PM

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