COLUMBIA, SC (WACH) People in the midlands have hit the streets in recent weeks to protest cases of police brutality.
Vernon Herron is a retired cop, now with the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security. He says "Its difficult to be a police officer these days."
We asked experts if citizens can diffuse confrontations with police by complying first then complaining later if they feel their rights have been violated. Some say an officers tone can encourage compliance.
A tactical trainer from policeone.com says "So start by asking. Asking for their cooperation first. Its going to make your job a lot easier."
Herron says "In a perfect world it would be a good model to follow."
Some citizens do comply.. still with tragic results.
John Geer, a Virginia man, was shot and killed by Fairfax County Police in 2013 in the doorway of his home. It was a case of mistaken identity. A mobile phone picture showed Geer with his hands up before he was shot.
Herron adds "When it gets to the point where you have to pull your firearm your training should be comprehensive enough where you know you have the right to discharge that firearm."
Herron and others acknowledge the difficult job that police officers have. He believes several things could help police do their jobs- including more thorough background investigations of candidates, sustained, ongoing, training for officers and clear guidelines on use of deadly force if officers are ever confused.
In addition to that, there are growing calls for police to establish better relationships in the communities where they serve. It's something Columiba Police are working to improve in the wake of recent events
Thu, 11 Dec 2014 03:44:00 GMT — Police Chief Skip Holbrook says "The thing that has impressed me the most about this department is the relationships that we have in the community, and our commitment to continue that open conversation and dialogue about any issue that's related to making our city safer."