According to the NYPD’s new “retraining” program, cops are instructed to “take a deep breath” and close their eyes when dealing with tense situations. An article by the New York Post states that this risky and potentially dangerous advice is part of a $35 million “smart policing” primer by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. It has also been reported that many officers have been falling asleep in their seats during the lectures given at the new $750 million Police Academy in Queens.
Most cops who have gone through the program say it is completely useless. The seemingly impractical advice has been called “not realistic” and “pretty silly” by an officer who sat through two full-day programs.
The same officer also said that at one point during the lectures, those in attendance were given breathing exercises to learn how to calm down, even when facing someone who could threaten their safety.
“They said if you find yourself in a situation that’s getting heated, take a step back, close your eyes and take a deep breath,” he said.
“That’s pretty funny — that I would close my eyes in a tense situation.”
Another officer said the lectures were “smoke and mirrors” to appease the public. “They want you to stop and think about everything before you do anything, but a lot of times cops have to make a split-second decision, and they don’t have the luxury of stopping and thinking,” he said.
The officer stated he was paid overtime for his attendance at the retraining program. The program also takes time away from officers to do their actual duties with some cops going to training instead of their regular shifts. Both officers and everyone they know gave the lecture low marks when filling out the survey after the program. About 80 percent of participants gave the program negative reviews.
The lectures were described as “boring” and a “big disappointment” to cops who thought they were going to learn “real, hands-on, quality training on how to deal with a hostile prisoner or arrestee,” by a high-ranking NYPD source.
Mayor De Blasio promises his retraining program “will have an impact on millions of people, because every interaction that every officer has with their fellow New Yorkers after they are trained again will be different.”