Police academy changes training standards

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Delta College’s Police Officers Standards and Training Academy is centering its training around new techniques for a new era of policing, focused on de-escalation tactics. PHOTO COURTESY TAMMIE MURRELL

Students at Delta College’s Police Officers Standards and Training (POST) Academy are entering a new era of policing — one that spotlights humanizing the police within the community.

Academy curriculum works to eliminate the thin blue line separating the police from the people.

Delta’s POST Academy, directed by Tammie Murrell, prioritizes de-escalation tactics to avoid the use of force on civilians.

 “The tactics are centered around being able to communicate with people to result in a peaceful solution… if we can effectively communicate what we are trying to do, then we can break things down and reach a peaceful solution,” said Jonah Quinn, a former Delta College trainee now with the Stockton Police Department (SPD). 

The reason for the divide between police and community?

“Over the years in policing, we lost our way,” Murrell said.

Murrell is a retired Deputy Chief with the Stockton Police Department, holding around 30 years of police experience.

Murrell said police agencies got used to “a mentality of us versus them, and that is not how it should be.” 

Individual instances of police brutality, not related to campus, have sparked calls for change throughout the nation in recent years. This includes the Black Lives Matter movement and the act of kneeling during the National Anthem, which began on the grand stage of the National Football League. 

The events and subsequent protests started a conversation now being addressed as a pillar of police training.

Murrell said an old and flawed way of thinking is responsible. 

“Police work is changing. It used to be very paramilitaristic, meaning that our police departments are structured like the military,” Murrell said.

Murrell makes it a point to tell young officers today that, “we are not at war with our communities, and you are not soldiers.”

SPD members, as well as the POST Academy, are working with the intention of progression.

There are 41 POST academies throughout California. Murrell said the academies have added hours of new training to the curriculum to emphasize giving officers the ability to resolve situations peacefully, without the use of force.

Programs such as “Coffee With a Cop” and “Cops for Kids” are being prioritized to positively boost the police presence in the community.

Delta College’s POST Academy is currently recruiting for its spring section. Fall courses begin on Sept. 28.

To learn all about the POST Academy, including steps to enroll visit  deltacollege.edu/program/post-academy.