Poor Police Training in the USA: The Mother of All Evils

Police brutality nationwide has often raised eyebrows on the training practices in US policing.

The faulty training regimes in the US policing enable officers to take more lives of citizens than in any other developed nation.

A report from an independent project shows that almost a thousand people lose their lives every year to police violence, although the number increases in agitated years.

While other countries observe standardized training practices, the lack of it in the US often results in police violence.

According to Health Metrics and Evaluation, the United States has the 28th highest rate of gun violence in the world, and police departments have a significant contribution to it.

Whether it is about mistaking a taser for a gun or choking people to death, the issue, if it remains unaddressed, can bring a lot of chaos into society.

Poor training practices in US policing is one of the major reasons for the violent police behaviour against civilians.
Poor training practices in US policing is one of the major reasons for the violent police behaviour against civilians.

Training Practices in US Policing: Police Training in the United States Lacks Standards

The erstwhile job of the police departments before the Civil War in the US mostly revolved around returning the stolen properties and capturing runaway slaves.

The duty was force-centric. So the police in the US are supposedly inheriting the use of force against Black individuals, and training seems not to change this inherited mindset.

Police officers in Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, Iceland, and Norway are unarmed when they carry out a patrol.

They are allowed to carry arms only in special circumstances, while police officers in America can carry firearms even when they are not on duty, depicting the lack of training practices in US policing.

In Japan, police officers have to surrender their weapons when going off duty, and interestingly, Japan is the safest country with the least number of gun violence incidents.

Police academies in the United States lack basic training standards. They tend to apply the use of force while completely ignoring communication and restraint.

Consider the following data of police brutality in the US, for example.



Killings by law enforcement in 2019










The data reveals extraordinary incompetence in tackling civilians in the USA.

There is a school of thought claiming that having firearms in civilians’ hands is one of the reasons for escalating brutality by police.

While the guns regulations in the US need dramatic changes, interrelating both is also a falsified approach.

For instance, almost 32% of people in Finland carry firearms, but police shootings incidents are next to none.

The responsibility of this brutality in the USA lies in the poor training practices in US policing.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics of 2013 reveals that police academies in the United States spend almost 71 hours on training with firearms while only 21 hours are spent on de-escalation training.

Firearms training in other countries is a lot different from the United States. Germany’s firearm training, for example, teaches officers how to avoid using weapons.

In Japan, police officers are taught martial arts instead of training them with firearms. These other countries do train their officers with firearms, but they prefer using it as a last resort.


Training Duration in US Police: Shorter Period, Greater Powers

On average, every police officer spends around 21 weeks in these academies before moving into the field.

According to a report released by Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform, United States spends far less time as compared to other developed countries on training police officers.

As most of this already less time is spent on promoting the use of force, the results are evident.

Norway trains its officers for three years, and only four people were killed by police violence in Norway between 2002 and 2016.

Similarly, Finland and Iceland train their police officers for two years, and seven and one people have been killed in police violence between 2000 and 2018, respectively.

Interestingly, states require barbers to get more training than police officers. Some states even require less than 21 weeks of police training.

In Minneapolis, police officers are trained for 16 weeks only, not to mention it is the home of George Floyd and Daunte Wright’s murder. This negligence in training practices in US policing is one of the reasons of this much brutality.

Derek Chauvin was a training officer who was training two rookie cops as he held down his knee on George Floyd’s neck. 

Seeing the numbers, it is easy to see that the time of training is inversely proportional to police use of brutal force against civilians.


Read More: George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to end Police Brutality

Better training opportunities is a primary reason why police in the developed nations other than the USA perform their duty smoothly
Better training opportunities is a primary reason why police in the developed nations other than the USA perform their duty smoothly

Police Playing God in the USA: All-Powerful Police is the Real Curse

Police in the United States are overpowered and are supposedly overburdened too.

In the United States, the responsibilities of police officers are sometimes beyond their capabilities.

Local officers in the United States make arrests, patrol communities, investigate crime, issue traffic citations, respond to mental health crises in some cases, noise complaints, and domestic disputes.

Some experts argue that allowing this broad mandate is itself a beginning of allowing police officers to go wild.

Other countries have different wings that are specifically trained for these situations. For example, in Stockholm, Sweden, mental health emergencies are responded to by a special unit that is trained for such situations.

England and Wales have community support officers who deal with domestic disputes, fine people who litter or confiscate alcohol from a minor.

These officers must ask the police before making any arrest. The establishment of these units has marked a significant decline in police violence. It is the need of the hour in the US as well to make alternate strategies to control police.


Read More: Biden can Start Transforming Police by Taking Executive Actions


Final Thoughts

Sweden has only one national force that is overseen directly by the federal government. France has three forces, one of them deals with cities, the other with rural areas, and the last one for municipalities.

England and Wales also have regional forces, but they are overseen directly by the central government, just like France.

The United States has over 18,000 law enforcement agencies ranging from local police to federal police.

Every state has its different law enforcement departments, such as the New York Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, and North Carolina Police Department.

Despite having these many agencies, the nationally embraced training practices in US policing are lacking.

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