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police reform

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Flint police department is turning to technology to help reduce response times to calls.

Flint’s new police intelligence center will monitor closed circuit cameras in businesses and other locations around the city. It will also serve as a clearinghouse for data on criminal suspects.

Police Chief Tim Johnson expects the center will help officers get to the scene of crimes faster.

“We’re doing excellent for responding to crimes,” says Johnson. “But, of course it’s not good enough when you’ve got people waiting 20 and 30 minutes for police to respond to a call.”

A 2015 survey found that many police agencies devote significantly more time to firearms training than de-escalation techniques.
Flickr - Oregon Department of Transportation / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

When police officers are faced with potentially dangerous situations, the initial reaction is often to draw their weapon. 

That, after all, is what their training suggests they do: A 2015 survey of training curriculum at more than 280 police agencies found that the typical agency devoted 58 hours to firearms training and 49 hours to defensive tactics, compared with 10 to communication and just eight to de-escalation.

This type of training, and the warrior mentality it creates, has been at the root of deadly confrontations between police and the people they're arresting in recent years.