March 16, 2017

Yesterday, the LGW Signature Program Class of 2017 gathered at the Montgomery County Public Safety Training Academy for Public Safety Day – our look into some of the challenges and opportunities faced by law enforcement working to ensure safety and the rule of law in the region.

We were welcomed by Chiefs J. Thomas Manger and Hank Stawinski of Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, respectively, to our first panel discussion on policing in a post-Ferguson world moderated by Darrell Darnell (’15), Senior Associate Vice President for Safety and Security at the George Washington University.

We discussed how training strategies can better prepare officers handling implicit biases in the line of duty, how to better build trust between law enforcement and the community, and how modern police officers must be conscientious of the role they play in policing in today’s media environment. The chiefs of police also spoke to the militarization of police forces around the country and about the appropriate use of force – including critical de-escalation tactics.

Following our dialogue, our leaders continued to deepen their connections during the ‘Getting to Know Me’ component of the program’s agenda and during their Mindtrusts – regular groups established for our classmembers to build a support system by opening-up to each other to offer and seek guidance about personal and professional issues.

We reconvened after lunch for an open discussion with Maryland State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County Angela Alsobrooks (’12) and Morris Parker, Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, about ways we can improve relationships between law enforcement and the public through transparency and accountability in our judicial processes.

For our afternoon sessions, LGW classmembers split up for three hands-on trainings that showed the difficulty of decision making faced by officers in the line of duty. Classmembers participated in an indoor situational exercise that required them to neutralize a possible threat inside a crowded building using various techniques to minimize danger for bystanders. Also, we received some basic self-defense training from Montgomery County Police Department instructors and experienced MILO – a state of the art simulator at the training academy to prepare law enforcement (and our class members!) for individuals who pose a danger to the community by either deescalating the situation or making a split-second decision on the appropriate use of force to neutralize the threat.