Police in Missouri will get more training, including how to handle bias issues

In the wake of events in Ferguson, Missouri is doubling continuing education training requirements for police officers.

The Missouri Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission approved the changes today.

According to a Public Safety Department media release, the commission set continuing education requirements at 24 hours a year, up from 48 hours every three years.

Those are the most sweeping changes for such continuing education since 1996.

Training is also to include fair and impartial policing practices, including implicit bias recognition.

The action follows an August directive from Gov. Jay Nixon to the commission and Department of Public Safety to make new training rules by Dec. 1.

Public Safety Director Lane Roberts said: “I believe these changes in the critical areas of tactical training, fair and impartial policing, interacting with people with mental health issues, and officer health and well-being will help make the people of our state safer and strengthen law enforcement.”

All officers will have to get at least two hours training each year in all of those areas.

The changes come after meetings around the state that included law enforcement agencies, advocacy groups and others.

Nixon said in a media release: “More effective training will benefit both officers and the communities they serve. By making the most comprehensive enhancements to ongoing officer training standards in nearly two decades, these new rules mark a significant milestone that will strengthen public safety ….”

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