Is it time to ask ourselves, as a society, if we’re properly training police officers to deal with confrontation? Are they really acting in a manner that serves the people they are supposed to protect or do their tactics pose a risk to the public?

For instance, one thing that officers need to focus on is the de-escalation of a situation. If they come to a potentially volatile situation, they need to know how to defuse it and bring the level of tension down. That should be the goal, many experts argue, rather than escalating things or just trying to use force to overcome the encounter. 

When asked about this for an interview with The Atlantic, one officer did note that this type of focus cannot apply evenly to every situation. Things happen quickly, police need to respond, they don’t have much time to think and things may have gotten beyond the point of de-escalation by the time they even arrive on the scene. 

While that point of view isn’t necessarily wrong — there are situations when police have few options — it does seem that most encounters could benefit from a mindset that is focused on calming everyone down. If a police officer makes a traffic stop and then tries to make an arrest, and the suspect is not happy with that decision, is force the only answer? Or can the officer seek a more peaceful solution based on talking to the person and explaining their reasoning? 

All too often, officers just turn to force immediately and expect people to comply. That can lead quickly to excessive force and civil rights violations, and those involved must understand their legal options. Speak about your case with an attorney who understands the complex issues involved concerning police misconduct.