It's reasonable to assume that someone who has been handed a gun and a badge by a police department must have received extensive training in effective law enforcement. Maybe areas such as de-escalating potentially dangerous situation, firearms and combat skills, and legal and constitutional issues. Unfortunately, however, such an assumption, while perfectly reasonable, happens to be completely false.
Consider the case of Nancy Cummings, a police officer in the town of Alexander, Arkansas, who accidentally discharged her firearm while patting down a suspect, fatally wounding him. Despite the fact that Cummings had been on the force for eight months, she had never received police training or certification from the state, and was not scheduled to attend police academy until the following year. Under Arkansas state law, that is perfectly legal.
Under Arkansas state law, that is perfectly legal.
Someone can be on the police force for nine months (up to a year in some cases) without having gone through the three-month training course. As long as the recruit can hit a target 25 yards away, with at least 40 out of 50 shots, they can be given a badge and a gun. Indiana has a similar standard, allowing new officers to be on duty for up to a year before being trained and certified.
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Indiana has a similar standard, allowing new officers to be on duty for up to a year before being trained and certified.
It has been reported that many police departments are having difficulty finding new recruits who want to become police officers. No doubt this contributes to the lax hiring requirements, as departments across the country struggle to fill vacant spots.
Sadly, when citizens in danger dial 9-1-1, they are hoping and expecting that the person who shows up will be better trained and better qualified to handle the situation than the average man on the street. In reality, at least in some areas of the country, that is not the case.
In short, sometimes the only difference between those with badges and those without is that the ones with badges applied for the job. There's absolutely no reason to expect them to be any more moral or virtuous than anyone else. And in many cases, there is no reason to expect them to be any better trained or prepared than anyone else.
It might come as a shock to those who revere and respect law enforcers to find out that some police hiring practices amount to little more than handing a badge and a gun to whoever asks for them.