"The New Generation of Police Officers: Navigating Woke Policies and the Use of Force"


In recent years, the role of police officers has come under intense scrutiny. As society becomes more conscious about social justice and equality issues, there is a growing demand for police departments to adopt woke policies that prioritize de-escalation techniques and avoid using force whenever possible. While this shift in approach is commendable, it is essential to recognize the challenges faced by modern-day police officers tasked with navigating through these new expectations while maintaining their duty to protect themselves and others.

A prime example of this new approach is the commendable display of restraint exhibited by Oklahoma City police officers during a tense standoff with an armed suspect on December 8, 2021. During a disturbance call, Officer Andrew Ash found himself facing an armed suspect, Antwon Hill, who pointed a gun and threatened to shoot. In a remarkable display of professionalism, the officers engaged in a desperate plea with the armed suspect, urging him not to resort to violence. This incident exemplifies the changing dynamics in law enforcement, where officers are increasingly encouraged to prioritize de-escalation tactics over the use of force.

Traditionally, when I was a young officer, law enforcement agencies embraced a warrior mentality where an officer's primary objective was swiftly neutralizing threats. However, recently, there has been a significant push towards adopting a guardian mentality that focuses on community engagement and de-escalation tactics. While this shift aims to reduce confrontations and minimize violence, it places immense pressure on officers who often face critical situations where quick decision-making is crucial.

Acknowledging instances when using force becomes necessary for protecting officers and innocent civilians is vital. When faced with imminent danger or when lives are at stake, law enforcement professionals require the ability to respond appropriately using force if needed. This does not undermine efforts towards training officers in non-lethal alternatives; instead, it recognizes the realities they face on the job. While the emphasis on de-escalation is crucial, it is essential to realize that force is a necessary and legitimate response in some situations. Officers must be equipped to protect themselves and others when faced with imminent danger. The incident in Oklahoma City highlights the delicate balance officers must strike between de-escalation and the need for force to ensure public safety.

Public support plays a crucial role in helping police officers navigate daily challenges. Society must recognize that not every use of force incident should be met with outrage and condemnation. Instead, it is imperative to trust the expertise of trained professionals with the knowledge and experience necessary to make split-second decisions in high-pressure situations.

Additionally, police leadership must refrain from succumbing to public pressure from individuals who may need more understanding of or expertise in using force and its application. While accountability is necessary, knee-jerk reactions based on emotional responses can undermine due process and hinder effective policing.

In his book "The Courageous Police Leader," Dr. Travis Yates emphasizes the significance of providing officers with due process when incidents involving the use of force occur. Rushing to judgment without considering all pertinent facts can lead to miscarriages of justice and further erode trust between law enforcement agencies and their communities. The public must allow investigations to unfold, ensuring both sides can present their cases before reaching conclusions.

As we navigate through this new era of policing, it is vital to strike a balance between woke policies aimed at de-escalation techniques and recognizing the need for police officers to utilize force when necessary. The Oklahoma City standoff serves as a reminder that officers face complex situations where lives hang in the balance, requiring them to make difficult decisions under immense pressure.

In the aftermath of an officer-involved use of force, it is common for the public and media to question the actions taken. However, it is vital for police leadership not to play the "out of policy" game without a thorough understanding of the context and circumstances surrounding the incident. Dr. Travis Yates's book emphasizes the importance of supporting officers through due process, ensuring a fair and objective assessment of their actions.
As I transition my career back to civilian life, I know that the new generation of police officers faces the challenge of navigating woke police policies while maintaining the ability to use force when necessary. The Oklahoma City incident serves as a testament to the evolving role of officers as community guardians, emphasizing communication and de-escalation. Public support, informed by a nuanced understanding of officers' complexities, is essential for a successful transition. Police leadership must provide unwavering support and resist succumbing to uninformed public pressure, ensuring that officers receive due process in use-of-force incidents. Ultimately, striking the right balance between de-escalation and the need for force is critical in creating a safer and more just society.

In closing, I strongly recommend the book "Courageous Police Leader: Survival Guide to Combat Cowards, Chaos" which offers valuable insights and practical advice for law enforcement professionals navigating challenging situations. It guides how to combat cowardice within police departments and effectively maneuver chaos. "A must-read for law enforcement leaders seeking to enhance leadership skills with strategies on building and inspiring courage, emphasizing leading by example. "The book explores possible situations for police leaders, including riots and conflicts. It provides practical solutions derived from personal experiences and interviews with seasoned officers. The book tactfully handles cowardice among police and advocates for leaders to promptly address it while promoting a culture of bravery within teams. "Police leaders must inspire bravery in officers as courage spreads rapidly." Courageous Police Leader" is praised for its insightful guidance on leadership during turbulent times, emphasizing courage and integrity. It's an invaluable resource for law enforcement professionals seeking to enhance their skills.

Yates, T. (2019). Courageous Police Leader: Survival Guide to Combat Cowards, Chaos"It's (1st ed., pp. 2-7). Stoic Enterprises LLC. https://www.travisyates.org/order-book/