How Much Training Does a Police Officer Need?

Chris Davis, Envision Board member and Green Bay Chief of Police

High-profile incidents involving police use of force over the past several years have increased scrutiny of police policy, culture, and training.  A February 15 piece on ABC News highlights the stark difference between police training in the United States and that in other developed nations.  For example, the average length of a basic police training program in the US is 22 weeks, compared with 15 to 21 months in Japan and 2 ½ years in Germany. 

A recent report by the Police Executive Research Forum discusses the lack of standardization of training across the nation’s 17,000 municipal, county, and state policing agencies.

A likely future trend in policing will be greater standardization of training, as well as increased basic and ongoing training for police officers. This trend will benefit communities in terms of better police service.  It will, however, significantly increase the cost of operating a police department. This may very well combine with a trend toward consolidating smaller police departments into larger agencies serving numerous political subdivisions. 

Improved training standards for American police officers will definitely be a trend to watch in the future, as it will have significant implications for public policy and finance while offering the promise of improved public safety service in our communities. 

Transportation: the Very Definition is Changing!

Heidi Selberg, Envision Board member Upward Mobility Signals Team

Access to transportation has been identified by the Urban Institute and others as a critical factor in boosting upward mobility.  But what happens when the definition of access to transportation changes? How do cities and rural areas respond? What infrastructure is necessary, and what becomes obsolete? And what are the implications for the environment?

These questions and others are addressed in a recent report in the Washington Post.  In ‘I’ll call an Uber or 911’: Why Gen Z Doesn’t Want to Drive, reporter Shannon Osaka notes declining rates of car ownership among Gen Z (born 1996-2012) and fewer getting their driver’s licenses in their teens – if at all. Reasons include the costs of car ownership, anxiety about driving and possible accidents, and environmental concerns.  The availability of transportation alternatives makes it easier not to have a driver’s license or one’s own vehicle – and public transportation is not necessarily the primary alternative. E-scooters, e-bikes, ride-sharing, and on-line alternatives all provide options to driving a traditional vehicle to be with others. 

Will it last? Will the trend materialize in less urban areas? And does this change the model for public transportation? Perhaps it already has, as municipalities develop agreements with scooter and bike companies to offer short term use of such vehicles. Another trend to watch!

First Robot Lawyer Defends Human Litigants

Nan Nelson, Board Member

The world’s first robot lawyer will soon defend a human in a speeding ticket case in an actual United
States court. The CEO of DoNotPay introduced his AI lawyer to the world in a January Twitter clip.  In this
video the company’s bot successfully negotiated a Comcast Internet bill with the Comcast Chat bot. 
Human observers noted that both bots were “a bit too polite.” Next up for the AI lawyer will be credit
card chargebacks, airline complaints and Amazon returns, the CEO said, noting the service will be
publicly available soon.  More complicated cases like parking and speeding tickets, appealing bank fees
and suing robocallers will be available next.

Click here to read, “World’s First Robot Lawyer to Defend Human in Speeding Ticket Case in US”