The original item was published from June 2, 2020 4:13 PM to June 17, 2022 4:14 PM
I have been asked many questions by members of our community as it relates to the heartbreaking and incomprehensible death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis, Minn. police officer. I have been asked to explain how an incident such as this will be prevented here in Geneva and how we will assure that all people will be treated fairly, with dignity, compassion, and empathy at all times. We share in the outrage of our nation as we watched another person of color lose their life at the hands of a police officer. A police officer who took an oath to serve and protect all people, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. We stand with those in our community, and throughout the nation, who strive to enact positive change by making their voices heard through peaceful demonstrations.
One of the questions I have been consistently asked is in regards to the training our Geneva police officers participate in that is relevant to this tragic incident. Our officers regularly participate in scenario-based training that stresses de-escalation. These stress-inducing training scenarios make every effort to replicate real-world situations. This is extremely important because it has been demonstrated that officers will rise to the level of their training. Every Geneva police officer participates in training on the topics of human rights, use of force, constitutional and proper use of law enforcement authority, cultural competency, and procedural justice, amongst many other topics. The training on these topics is facilitated through in-person classes hosted by a regional mobile training unit, web-based training, daily training bulletins, scenarios, and in-house training.
In addition to the topics listed above, officers have attended mental health first aid training, and over 80% of our officers are certified Crisis Intervention Team officers. This training has proven invaluable for our officers. Certified officers receive training to de-escalate situations and to gain an understanding that their mere presence can and does cause fear. Officers are trained to utilize as much time as is needed, while utilizing their communication and listening skills, to resolve any situation while avoiding confrontation when possible.
We have worked tirelessly to build trust with our community by establishing a culture where everyone is treated with dignity, respect, and compassion, no matter their race, gender, sexuality, or religious beliefs. We understand that this bond of trust is earned and not given. It takes constant effort and must never be taken for granted. We are far from perfect, but we sincerely hope that our community feels that we are striving to be successful in this effort.
We understand that the death of George Floyd, other people of color, and instances of brutality at the hands of police officers throughout the country, have severely damaged the relationship between the law enforcement profession and the communities we serve. We must be willing to look in the mirror and ask the hard questions of ourselves. We must set the example for how all human beings deserve to be treated. Each of us in the law enforcement profession has the responsibility to hold those accountable for their actions when they violate the trust of the community they serve. No excuses and no exceptions. This heartbreaking tragedy must be a catalyst for improvement and a much greater understanding going forward. We must do better.
Geneva Police Chief