The King County Sheriff's Office and Seattle police announced a new training partnership Monday, focused on putting more emphasis on verbal and de-escalation skills instead of physical tactics.
All recruits to the two largest local police agencies in Washington will undergo the training as part of a pilot program with the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission, which trains all police officers in the state except troopers.
"It's a strategy to build trust in the community by improving individual interactions between the police and people they encounter on the street," Sheriff Sue Rahr said at a news briefing to unveil details of the program.
Although police must use force at times and became fearful after the execution killings of five officers in the region in 2009, the goal is to make interactions safer for citizens and officers, Rahr said. She noted that when people believe the police are fair and trustworthy, they are more likely to cooperate, obey the law and avoid physical confrontations.