The Middletown Press (Middletown, CT)

Training questions


Law enforcemen­t is a great career to retire from. You can start right out of high school, quit working well before you turn 50, and collect serious monthly income and free medical coverage for (on the average) longer than you worked in the first place.

During the COVID-era wave of job-quitting that some call the Great Resignatio­n, there was a spike in police retirement. The Police Executive Research Forum reports that police retirement­s were up a whopping 45 percent nationwide from 2019-20 to 2020-21. Resignatio­ns went up too, by 18 percent. The protest movement after the murder of George Floyd didn’t make the work more attractive, and COVID made it more dangerous — it has been the leading cause of police fatalities every year since the pandemic began.

Overwhelmi­ngly, the ones who quit were the ones who could walk away and start collecting: the experience­d officers. One of the things that has been noted about the five cops who recently beat Tyre Nichols to death after a traffic-stop in Memphis is their lack of collective experience; the most senior of them in this supposedly “elite” squad had five years in.

This raises a question: were all of these guys murderous jerks when MPD hired them, or did they receive “training” in those few years that resulted in what they did?

Neither possibilit­y is comforting, but I’ll go out on a limb and say it isn’t likely that all five of them were thugs when they got hired. You don’t have to think people are angels to find it unlikely that all five just happened to be bad apples to begin with. Something happened to them.

The exodus from law enforcemen­t continues. Who will the new recruits be? What are they being taught? Hopefully, it’s something other than “Next time, turn the body-cam off.”

Eric Kuhn Middletown

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States