Minneapolis police officers will be trained to exhaust all reasonable means in defusing potentially violent encounters before resorting to force under new “sanctity of life” department rules unveiled Monday. The guideline changes, which have been in the works since the release of a wide-ranging report by a presidential task force on policing last spring, are designed to mend broken public trust in the wake of high-profile police shootings of unarmed black men, reports the city’s Star Tribune. Police Chief Janeé Harteau said the changes are aimed at restoring public trust.
As part of the training, officers have been taught to consider what factors may contribute to a lack of compliance, such as language barriers, drug and alcohol use, or a mental crisis. The policy also urges officers to announce their intent to use force before actually doing so. The current class of 32 police recruits will be the first to receive the new de-escalation training. Other changes include the requirement for officers to intervene if they witness improper use of force by their colleagues, and to report it to their supervisor and internal affairs. The policy changes were praised by ACLU of Minnesota, which has been critical of the department’s tactics.