US

Demilitarizing the cops: States overhaul police training to improve trust, reduce use of force

A campaign is underway in places around the U.S. to "demilitarize" the police and produce officers who think of themselves as protectors of their communities, not members of an occupying force.

That philosophy is already at work at Washington state's police academy, where instructors are using a curriculum known as "Blue Courage." It aims to produce cops who have a strong moral compass and the ability to use their wits instead of their weapons whenever possible.

Calls for demilitarizing law enforcement began a few years ago but gained urgency after the violent protests over the deadly shooting in Ferguson, Missouri, last summer.

As part of that change in thinking, President Barack Obama has curtailed the government's practice of supplying armored vehicles, heavy weapons and other military-style equipment to police departments.