The Waterbury Police Department joined a partnership with Post University that will allow officers to take an online recertification program.
“It will keep officers on the streets potentially out in their area, on their beat, if they have down time, they want to work on that training component it will be available in the cars,” said Chief Fernando Spagnola. “They can do Section One, which may take 15 mins and they may not go back for two days, but there is always that knowledge check and there is always that testing part at the end to make sure the information was retained.”
The officers are required to take 33 courses to stay up to date with the latest training. Classes include civil liability, use of force, and de-escalation.
“Any opportunity we have to create a relationship or to think of alternatives to de-escalate an issue where an arrest can be affected or to do it in the most compassionate way possible, is going to benefit the police officers as well as the community,” said Chief Spagnolo.
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This comes at a time when community mistrust of police officers has grown significantly nationwide.
"We have been riveted through the COVID pandemic and the George Floyd murder has cast some significant shadows on law enforcement,” explained Chief Spagnolo.
Neighbors in the area say it’s important that officers receive ongoing training.
“Because the more they train, they know better, there's things that have gone wrong in police departments because they didn't know then but now, they know,” said Milagro Rivera, of Waterbury.