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Thousands of New York City cops have gone through a new training course created in response to the July chokehold death of Staten Island man Eric Garner at the hands of NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo — but approximately 80 percent of the officers going through the $35 million three-day program are calling it a "waste of time," according to a report in the New York Post today.
So far, 4,000 cops have completed the program, which includes lectures, a cultural-sensitivity workshop, and instruction on de-escalation tactics that can be used as an alternative to administering a chokehold. According to the Post, eight out of ten officers have reportedly given bad reviews upon completing the city-funded course, which was announced in the fall after a grand jury decided not to indict Pantaleo, which in turn sparked massive, city-wide protests. In December, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio claimed the smart-policing program would change the city's future and impact millions of people by altering how officers interact with New Yorkers.
The city's cops, however, are reportedly unimpressed with the eight-hour lectures, during which many officers have been caught sleeping in their chairs. According to the high-level official cited in the Post report, the new program does not include tactical training or real-life scenarios. An expensive, life-like set located at the new academy in the New York borough of Queens is apparently not being used in the training.
"It's three days, it's boring, and there's no real tactics," the source said. "They're not putting them in scenarios. Cops felt they would get more tactical training in light of the Eric Garner case."
According to the official, the program is more of a "self-reflection" course on how the cops can improve at their jobs. On the final day of training, officers are instructed on the "high-low takedown" involving one person taking out a suspect at the legs from behind, and the other at the torso from in front.
"There's not enough tactical, hands-on training. This should be 100 percent hands-on training, not sitting in a classroom eating breath mints because it's going to make you curse less," he said — referencing a bizarre plan to curb officer cursing by the NYPD's short-lived deputy commissioner of training Michael Julian.
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