Police deaths: Ontario ombudsman's 22 recommendations on reducing fatal interactions
Paul Dube's report looks at various ways to improve police training in de-escalation techniques, particularly when dealing with people in a mental health crisis.
Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé released “A Matter Of Life and Death” at Queen’s Park Wednesday, the product of his investigation into how the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services trains and directs police on use of force. The report makes 22 recommendations:Ministry leadership
: The ministry should use its legal and moral authority to take the lead on the issue of de-escalation and police-involved shootings of persons in crisis.De-escalation regulation
: Within one year, develop and implement new rules about using de-escalation techniques, modelled on the Suspect Apprehension Pursuit Regulation, which requires police to use communications and de-escalation techniques in all conflict situations before considering force options, wherever tactical and safety considerations permit.Use-of-force model
: The new model should be easy to understand and clearly identify de-escalation options, not just use-of-force options. Models developed in British Columbia and Las Vegas have clarity and balance, but Ontario should lead by developing its own model that builds on the best of what others have done. It should be rolled out to all police services within one year.Coroner’s jury recommendations
: The ministry should formally and publicly respond to all coroner’s jury recommendations involving police use of force and de-escalation, on a priority basis. It should also keep complete and accurate records of actions taken to address those recommendations.Improved training
- Offer more guidance for recruits and officers on the use of the police challenge (such as “Police! Don’t move!”) to cover times when the challenge has not been successful in calming a situation and to explain when to use de-escalation techniques instead.
- Revise training to stress de-escalation techniques as the first option when facing a person with an edged weapon, provided that public and officer safety and tactical considerations permit.Recruit training
- Expand the training period for new recruits at the Ontario Police College and use the additional time for more explicit training on de-escalation techniques and for practising de-escalation scenarios.
- Use the expanded police college curriculum to offer more training on mental illness and strategies to de-escalate situations involving people in crisis.
- Expand mandatory annual use-of-force refresher training to two days, with one day dedicated to use-of-force techniques and one to de-escalation. Include clear guidelines to evaluate an officer’s use of de-escalation, and monitor police services’ implementation of this expanded course.On-the-job training
- Require scenario-based training.
- Develop a standard syllabus on de-escalation to ensure a consistent, high standard of in-service training of police province-wide.
- Revise the use-of-force curriculum so that, rather than repeating basic concepts from recruit training, the trainers’ course focuses on teaching de-escalation and strikes a better balance.
- When picking use-of-force trainers, ensure that de-escalation and communications expertise is given equal weight with weapons training experience.
- Require use-of-force trainers to re-certify every two years, as is required for those who teach officers to use Tasers.Reporting, tracking and using de-escalation stories
- Develop a standard reporting process that enables feedback and learning on de-escalation. This should be used after all interactions with people suffering from mental illness or in crisis, where force was an option but was not used, and where the situation was successfully de-escalated.
- Use information gleaned from monitoring de-escalation reports as a learning tool for recruits and in-service training. Successful de-escalations should be shared among police services as a model of expected behaviour.
- Work with the Attorney General and Special Investigations Unit to analyze and learn from investigations of incidents involving death or serious injury of people who are mentally ill or in crisis, and incorporate lessons learned into police training.Body-worn video
Monitor police pilot projects in the use of body-worn cameras to assess their value as an accountability and de-escalation tool. Consider directing police forces on their use by May 2017.Changing police culture
- Institute new mandatory training standards for coach officers, recognizing that these on-the-job mentors are a vital force in shaping new officers’ skills and perceptions. Training for coach officers should be in line with the revised approach to de-escalation.
- Review coach officer programs as part of regular ministry inspections of police services.
- Institute new training for supervising officers to help them develop skills in teaching de-escalation and in debriefing officers on how armed confrontations with persons experiencing a crisis were handled.
- Report back to the ombudsman’s office quarterly on implementation of the recommendations.
- Source: “A Matter Of Life and Death,” Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé
By WENDY GILLISNews reporterhttps://www.thestar.com/news/crime/2016 ... tions.html