(WASHINGTON POST) Kimberly Kindy, December 11, 2015 — The police recruits arrived in pairs in the woods outside Seattle. For days, they had been calming their minds through meditation and documenting life’s beauty in daily journals. Mindful and centered, they now faced a test: a mentally ill man covered in feces and mumbling to a rubber chicken.
The feces was actually oatmeal and chocolate pudding, the man was another recruit, and the goal of this mock training exercise was to peacefully bring him into custody. The first recruits approached gingerly, trying to engage the man in conversation. When that failed, they moved in and wrestled him to the ground.
“We needed to find a way to help him. He obviously had a screw loose,” said Aaron Scott, a cadet from Bellevue, Wash. Scott briefly considered using his baton, he said. “But I thought that might be too much.”
For the past three years, every police recruit in the state has undergone this style of training at the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, where officials are determined to produce “guardians of democracy” who serve and protect instead of “warriors” who conquer and control.