Training the Guardians of Democracy

Effective policing demands a wide range of skills and abilities. The very best peace officers possess highly developed physical, mental, emotional and service competencies. At the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission we strive to develop recruits and veteran officers in all four areas, as opposed to focusing merely on the techniques of law enforcement.
While physical, tactical, enforcement and investigative knowledge and skills continue to be predominant in our training programs, we strive to teach them from the perspective of service, justice and fundamental fairness. The model that we use for this is "LEED":

  • Listen: Allow people to give their side of the story. Give them a voice, and let them vent. Listening is the most powerful way to demonstrate respect.
  • Explain: Explain what you’re doing, what they can do, and what’s going to happen.
  • Equity: Tell them why you are taking action. The reason must be fair and free of bias, and show that their side of the story was considered.
  • Dignity: Act with dignity, and leave them with their dignity. Treat every person with basic human decency.
A few of the changes and initiatives implemented to achieve this include:

Blue Courage: A 16 hour curriculum that reinforces the legacy and mandate of policing. It provides tools to help officers maintain a healthy perspective on their jobs and their lives.

Crisis Intervention Training: A variety of courses from 8 to 40 hours in length that enhance officers' ability to communicate with and de-escalate people in crisis- including the mentally ill and those under the influence of drugs.

Justice-based Policing: A program developed by the King County Sheriff's Office that introduces the LEED model.

Tactical Social Interaction: A tactical communications model developed by DARPA and the WSCJTC that was adopted by the United States military. This program helps officers develop skills for communicating in cross-cultural environments.

Training Guardians means more than just adding new material however. It means that we must "practice what we preach". We cannot tell officers that they should treat the community with respect if we model the opposite in our interactions with them. To that end we have limited some aspects of the "boot camp" approach. Standards are high and much of the training is academically and physically rigorous. Training Officers act as mentors and coaches as opposed to drill instructors. Outside of clearly designated training scenarios recruits are not belittled or "broken down". Treating recruits and trainees with respect is core to WSCJTC's training philosophy.

For more information: