Col. Mike Edmonson calls for retraining of law enforcement nationwide
BATON ROUGE- Following the death of Alton Sterling, questions have been swirling about training for law enforcement.
State Police Colonel Mike Edmonson and Governor John Bel Edwards met with President Obama yesterday, and that topic came up. Edmonson told reporters he believes police officers nationwide need to be retrained. Diversity and de-escalating situations are among the training protocols that Edmonson wants to see officers educated on.
"We can do a better job with training," Edmonson said. "We need to rewrite the whole police officers standards and curriculum nationwide. We can do a better job with that."
Following a rash of violent protests over the weekend and threats to law enforcement's lives, they responded with riot gear meeting protesters head on. Monday, Lieutenant General Russell Honore called for re-training of officers after seeing the video from the weekend.
"When you see a SWAT team on the front of a demonstration, that police force needs to be retrained," Honore said. "That is not the mission of a SWAT team to break up a demonstration."
Today, Edmonson agreed. He said discussions need to go beyond just physical training.
"We have to talk about diversity training," Edmonson said. "When we look at Blacks, Whites, Hispanics, Asians, male or female, across the board and how we deal with it. Our department has to be indicative of the community. You can start with the recruiting process to make sure that's the case."
As family members and the community get ready for Alton Sterling's funeral, Edmonson knows it's not too early to get law enforcement thinking about what to do in the most tense situations.
"How to deal with lethal force, let me tell you this weapon on my side is the last thing that we ever want to use," Edmonson said. "The other tools start with the eyes, ears and mouth."
Edmonson said right now law enforcement is aware of what's being dubbed "a day of rage." Although it's set for the same day as Alton Sterling's funeral, Edmonson says there's no credible threat to anyone's safety.