WC police unveil new police training standards
Westchester County police unveiled changes to training at the police academy Tuesday, aimed at preventing incidents like the one that led to an officer?s death last January.
Detective Christopher Ridley was fatally shot at the hands of four police officers when he tried to stop a mugging in White Pains. Police officials say Ridley was mistaken for a criminal by the officers because he was off duty and dressed in plain clothes.
?This is a devastating incident for us,? says Department of Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Belfiore. ?It became immediately important for all of us to do all we can to protect our own.?
In the wake of Ridley?s death, a panel of law enforcement professionals reviewed police training activities at the request of the Department of Public Safety and made 64 recommendations, 45 of which have already been implemented by the county.
Police officers throughout Westchester County will now have specialized training when dealing with off-duty cops. According to the new standards, a uniformed officer who encounters an off-duty cop pointing a gun at a suspect should handle the situation calmly, ask for identification and order both people to the ground.
At the police academy, recruits of diversity and gender are put in each situation, and recruits also take turns playing each role, as the officer, the off-duty cop and the suspect.
Some of the recommendations made by the panel were rejected for being unfeasible or costly, like training all retired law enforcement officials.
For an interview with Commissioner Belfiore, go to your digital cable box and select iO Extra, Channel 612.