Training must improve for law enforcement officers

Across Ohio, law enforcement agencies continue to have a hard time recruiting new officers. Perhaps part of the reason is that incident after incident shows a few in some of those same agencies are either receiving poor training or are disregarding their training — either way forcing the public to question whether they can be trusted.

Earlier this month, officers from the Canton Police Department apprehended Frank Tyson in a bar, after he was suspected of leaving the scene of an accident. Bodycam footage released by the department shows the officers entering the bar, an altercation taking place and then officers pinning down Tyson and handcuffing him. One of those officers places a knee on Tyson’s neck.

At that point, Tyson said, “I can’t breathe.”

As Tyson’s voice began to fade and he became motionless and unresponsive, there was a delayed reaction before the officers realize the state Tyson was in. They began CPR and called for medical assistance.

Local media reported he was transported to a hospital and died there.

Sound familiar? It is tragically similar to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis back in 2020, after which there was an outcry for officers to receive better training on matters ranging from bias recognition to use-of-force protocols.

It wasn’t supposed to happen again.

Departments across Ohio have since been involved in other similar incidents. It makes it clear that something is either missing in the way our officers are trained to serve and protect or it is too hard to get rid of those who choose to do their jobs improperly and encourage a culture in which others feel comfortable doing the same.

To their credit, Canton Police Department did release a 36-minute video clip of the incident a week after it happened. All officers involved are reportedly on administrative leave as well.

But why was the knee on the neck used? Why did an officer respond to Tyson saying he could not breathe with “Calm down” and “You’re fine?” Why did one officer feel comfortable afterward saying “I’ve always wanted to be in a bar fight. I don’t know if this counts?”

Most law enforcement officers are good people trying their best to do a difficult job — a job the rest of us truly cannot understand. We are doing those good officers no favors by failing to help them do that job better, to truly serve and protect, with better training and scrubbing departments of bad actors. How much more will it take?



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