OLMSTED COUNTY, Minn. - Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson said the process of reducing police-involved deadly force encounters forced him to “look deep and self-examine.”
It was announced Monday that a group is recommending that officers should get better training in de-escalation skills and in dealing with people experiencing mental health crises.
“ We are pleased the working group recommends expanding resources and increasing awareness for officer mental health and wellness, more training in de-escalation techniques and the recruitment of more diverse officers to law enforcement agencies in our State. These issues are major priorities for the policing profession and would certainly help law enforcement agencies in every Minnesota community maintain a high level of public safety services. We do not expect the process will stop today. We are hopeful legislation that is drafted, or policies developed with the Minnesota POST Board or Department of Public Safety will be developed with continued conversations and sub-groups to discuss these Recommendations and Action Steps,” Torgerson said in a statement.
Minnesota's two highest-ranking black law enforcement officials - Attorney General Keith Ellison and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington - formed the working group following several high-profile fatal shootings of black men by police officers.
Minnesota has had more than 100 of them over the last five years.
“We are concerned about some of the recommendations. Particularly as they relate to the due process of officers who have been exonerated and the potential financial burden on agencies to implement some of the training, technology and initiatives that are being proposed. That said we have always been – and will continue to be – willing to work with lawmakers, stakeholders and community groups to find new ways to make our State a safer place for everyone,” Torgerson said.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.