RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin said Monday that he’s had substantive talks with members of law enforcement and Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson after Baldwin’s call for a review of training tactics used by police.
Baldwin first spoke out three weeks ago following police shootings in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. At that time, Baldwin called for all 50 state attorneys general to review “policies and training policies for police and law enforcement to eliminate militaristic cultures while putting a higher emphasis on de-escalation tactics and crisis management measures.”
Since then, Baldwin has had talks with law enforcement in the Seattle area in the effort to gather information that he hopes can change how police officers are trained.
“We’re being very strategic with the people that we meet with,” Baldwin said. “Again, we don’t want this to become a political thing. We’re really just trying to find solutions.”
Baldwin has become a focal point in the conversation regarding interactions with police. He appeared on two different national television shows last week during the Seahawks’ bye after first making his request last month. The Seattle Police Department confirmed to The Seattle Times last week that some if its personnel had met with Baldwin.
Baldwin said the goal for now is coming up with suggestions and solutions that could lead to change in the state of Washington and then look at the potential for spreading that to a broader group, Baldwin said.
“We have a lot of data that’s coming in, a lot of data that we’re being given from different sources in terms of the research that we’re trying to put together, and it’s very compelling,” Baldwin said. “So we’re trying to build that here, utilize that as a tool, as a model here, and then be able to present that to the other 49 states.”
Baldwin said most eye-opening in his research has been learning about policies and training that don’t fully protect police and put them in a challenging situation. He also noted the difference in how the idea and process of de-escalation is interpreted by law enforcement and by the public.
“They are placed in these situations sometimes because that’s what they’re taught, that’s how they’re trained. And then it’s turned around and they get in trouble or they get prosecuted or looked at in a negative light because of the training that they’ve gone through,” he said. “Their job is a very difficult job, obviously. They put their lives on the line every time they go out onto the street. So I don’t understand how we’re not giving our law enforcement more tools, more training, more resources to go out there and protect themselves and protect the communities that they serve and then ultimately protecting their reputation. I just don’t understand how that’s not a national effort to do that.”
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