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Law enforcement training revisions considering decidedly left links

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(The Center Square) – Imacted leaders are mostly silent, publicly at least, ahead of a Wednesday meeting connected to revisions in North Carolina’s law enforcement training.

The Education and Training Committee, from the state Department of Justice led by gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Josh Stein, is expected to discuss an ongoing revamp of the state’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program.

Included in resources for instructors are links to the Anti-Defamation League, Human Rights Campaign, and a Healthline article, “68 Terms That Describe Gender Identity and Expression.” All are associated with more liberal, or left, leaning policy.

Nazneen Ahmed, in a statement for the Department of Justice, wrote in an email to The Center Square, “The goal is to ensure officers have the best possible training to serve their communities and keep the public safe. This process has been well designed using industry best practices and included comprehensive data from a job task analysis.”

Direct questions to the department from The Center Square went unanswered.

Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood, chairman of the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, referred comment to the Department of Justice. Others on the association’s executive committee did not respond to requests for comment.

Efforts by The Center Square were unsuccessful to gain response from the North Carolina Law Enforcement Officers Association, Fraternal Order of Police, Association of Chiefs of Police, and the North State Law Enforcement Officers Association.

The committee’s next step is part of the Department of Justice’s BLET 2025 Project to revise portions of the program run through the North Carolina Justice Academy that’s required for all certified law enforcement in the state.

The changes to the course that spans 16 weeks covering 36 topics have come from a variety of legal, law enforcement, and academic experts based on a 2018 analysis, and are being vetted through a pilot program at Fayetteville Community College and 15 other sites.

“The Academy has begun implementation of the proposed BLET curriculum in pilot delivery sites throughout the state,” Alex Gazaway, training manager at the Justice Academy, wrote in a recent update to committee chairwoman Stephanie Freeman. “The BLET Project Team continues to reconcile feedback, adjusted content, and revise both student and instructor materials for the next phase of pilot testing. I will be providing an overview of the curriculum status, course management issues and implementation.”

The pilot training course expands required hours to about 868, a 35% increase from the 640 hours required. Training materials jump from 2,840 pages to 4,492. The roughly 228 extra hours pushes the time to cover the four modules of law enforcement – criminal investigations, traffic investigations, and patrol duties – to 21 weeks. The average basic training time for law enforcement in the U.S. is 652 hours, according to The Institute for Criminal Justice Training Reform.

The added instruction will focus 48 additional hours on firearms, 24 hours on compliance and control techniques, 16 hours on communication and deescalation, 12 hours on ethical problem solving, eight hours of driver training, and six additional hours each of course orientation and criminal investigations.

The revisions cut hours to five topics including constitutional law, first responder, responding to crime victims, crime prevention, patrol techniques, and arrest, search, seizure, though some of the materials were shifted to other lessons.

The first pilot class of two students at Fayetteville Community College concluded in January, and others are underway at 15 colleges and law enforcement departments. The academy expects to incorporate feedback from those classes before the program expands to more than five dozen training sites across the state in 2025.

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