policing and proper training is key
The FBI released the 2019 Participation Data for the National Use-of-Force Data Collection and the FBI reported Weatherford’s numbers are trending upward.
“I cannot stress the importance of training,” Weatherford Police Chief Louis Flowers said. “The numbers in the chart do go up at different times in the year and it goes in trends. We train our officers to deescalate the situation and teach them how to properly talk to the person in a calm manner. The only time we use any type of force is when people are being non-compliant on an arrest. We deescalate the situation by calmly talking to them and we try not to ever detain or use force unless absolutely necessary.”
Numbers on the FBI website reflect the numbers from the 2008-18 National Use-of-Force Data Collection. Flowers said proper training is the key not only for Weatherford, but for police departments all across the country.
“The more training you have, the more officers are aware of proper techniques,” Flowers said. “Oftentimes, police officers have to use force when a person arrested tries to fight the officer or run away. Compared to a big city, this does not happen very often in Weatherford, but it has happened before. I cannot stress enough the importance of proper training about how to talk to people and deescalate the situation. When an officer does their job of staying calm and talking to them, then it is up to the person being arrested whether or not they comply with an officer’s orders.”
Weatherford does not have a lot of violence happen, but Flowers said this year has been strange since there have been two homicides.
“We are constantly evaluating how we do community policing and working on techniques,” Flowers said. “We make sure we are part of the community by volunteering and going to events in Weatherford.”
Flowers said police departments like Weatherford and across the country always are evolving and changing. He cannot stress enough about the importance of community policing and officers being part of the community.
“Laws change and attitudes change throughout the years,” Flowers said. “We have to be vigilant and be part of the community. This is why all officers are required to live in city limits or within 2 miles of city limits. We are part of the community and officers raise their families in this community. We have a few officers who are new and do not know people in the community, but that soon will change as they get to know people. We are proud of this community and will do everything in our power to keep Weatherford a safe place.”
According to the FBI, 5,043 federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies submitted use-of-force data to the National Use-of-Force Data Collection for 2019. Agencies submitted data for each qualifying instance of an officer using force. Qualifying uses of force include any action which resulted in the death or serious bodily injury of a person, or the discharge of a firearm at or in the direction of a person. If no qualifying incidents occurred, agencies submitted a zero report for that month. Only agencies which submitted at least one incident report or zero report for 2019 were included in this total.
The FBI developed the National Useof-Force Data Collection at the request of major law enforcement organizations that noted the lack of nationwide statistics on the topic. Participation by law enforcement agencies is entirely voluntary.