New Reform Effort Will Require Teenagers To Undergo Deescalation Training

Illustration for article titled New Reform Effort Will Require Teenagers To Undergo Deescalation Training

CHICAGO—In an attempt to address community outcry over recent police encounters, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced a reform effort Friday that would require all city teenagers to undergo mandatory deescalation training. “As a society, we depend upon the professionalism of 13- and 14-year-old boys in tense situations like these to prevent police officers from doing anything rash,” said the Chicago mayor in a press conference outlining the 10-class pilot program introducing teenagers to techniques such as speaking in a calm voice, maintaining eye contact, and using empathic listening to ensure cops never feel threatened in potentially violent situations. “Frankly, it’s vital to public safety that our teenagers learn how to speak to the police so that they defuse, rather than escalate, these emotionally charged incidents. When a 15-year-old realizes that a cop cornering him in an alleyway is heavily armed, the teen needs to remember that he’s the only one with the expertise to keep the situation from spiraling out of control. That’s the heavy burden on all teenagers that these classes will help them uphold.” Lightfoot added that if successful, the program may be expanded to teach protesters how to deescalate situations by staying at home after shootings and more quickly forgetting the victim’s name.