Legislation set to be introduced to Congress on Thursday would create a new national standard for when police officers can use deadly force and require police academies to teach officers de-escalation techniques.
The bill, called the Preventing Tragedies Between Police and Communities Act of 2016, is authored by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), who has been among the most outspoken members of Congress in calling for federal action to reform police tactics.
“We want our officers using force really that [is] proportional to the situation,” Moore said in an interview on Wednesday. “This is about giving police officers additional training assets with regard to encounters that don’t necessarily have to end up with a use of deadly force.”
Moore’s proposal targets police training and would require U.S. police officers to be trained in non-lethal force, to go through crisis intervention training to help them deal with the mentally ill, and to use the lowest level of force possible when responding to a threat. If passed, local police departments would have one year to comply with the new training standards or would face reductions in federal grant money.
“Nobody wants to see a police officer second guess a situation where they themselves will be murdered or maimed,” Moore told the Washington Post. “But I feel there is a huge chasm between officers who claim that they fear for their life and the actual facts of life and how they could have de-escalated these situations.”
Those standards are drawn from a recent report by the Police Executive Research Forum, an influential Washington-based policing-policy think tank.