Criminal Justice Expert Shocked by Police Shooting

Criminal Justice Expert Shocked by Police Shooting

July 17, 2017 08:55 PM

A law enforcement and community relations expert says the public needs to hear more from city hall and police investigators after a woman was shot by an officer in south Minneapolis Saturday.

"I was shocked actually, that was my initial reaction" said James Densley, a sociologist at Metropolitan State University, said. "I think it's one of those circumstances that will continue to have the community question the legitimacy of the Minneapolis Police Department. You want to hope the department is making progress building trust in the community, and then a situation like this happens and you feel like it falls back again."

RELATED: Medical Examiner: Diamond Died of Gunshot Wound to Abdomen

According to Densley, Minnesota is the only state in the country that requires all law enforcement officers attend a two or four year college or university. There are about 30 schools that fall under that criteria in Minnesota.
After graduating, candidates must pass the POST Board licensing exam to become license eligible. They only get their licenses if they are hired by one of the 435 law enforcement agencies in the state.
Once hired, many agencies, like Minneapolis, require additional training at an academy.


RELATED: Officer Identified as Firing Fatal Shot Has 3 Complaints on File, City Records Show

In Minneapolis, after the academy, cadets are assigned a Field Training Officer for mentoring. Field Training Officers have to approve a cadets training before they become full-time officers.
"But a lot of people will be questioning or wondering why aren't we emphasizing more de-escalation, crisis intervention, implicit bias, procedural justice as well; you know treating people with fairness and respect" said Densley. "Did this situation have to escalate to a deadly force incident so quickly?"

RELATED: Community Seeks Answers after Fatal Shooting in SW Minneapolis

Densley says MPD has been trying to build trust in the community, but this crisis is another set-back.  He believes the department needs to communicate with the public to build trust.

"You know you want people to have due process, you want the facts to come out, but from a public standpoint it often appears like it's taking too long," he said.


Kevin Doran

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