Commission approves new training standards

The Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission approved rules to strengthen law enforcement training standards Dec. 1.

The POST Commission now will require additional training for several aspects of police tactics, such as de-escalation techniques for potentially violent situations, handling individuals with mental health and cognitive impairment issues, officer well-being, and fair and impartial policing, including implicit bias recognition. The commission also raised the number of continuing education hours officers must receive to retain their licenses from a total of 48 hours every three years to 24 hours each year. These changes meet the standards put forward by Gov. Jay Nixon to the Missouri Department of Public Safety Aug. 6, when Nixon called for these new rules for effective and ongoing training in those areas by Dec. 1.

These updated standards represent the most sweeping changes for continuing education requirements for Missouri law enforcement officers since 1996, according to a press release from the Missouri DPS. The new sanctions also mandate law enforcement officers receive two hours of training each year in four critical training areas laid out by the POST Commission, according to the press release.

Nixon’s directive for determining these new rules also mandates the POST Commission host public meetings across the state to gather input from Missourians, including law enforcement agencies and advocacy groups, according to the press release. Public meetings took place Sept. 1 to Oct. 14 in Springfield, Jefferson City, Ferguson, Sikeston, Kirksville and Kansas City, Missouri, according to the press release.

The new rules will be filed with the Missouri secretary of state and the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules as required by state statute, according to the press release.