The New York City Police Department’s new “retraining” program has instructed cops to “take a deep breath” and close their eyes when interacting with people who are mad.
The new-age lesson is part of a special, three-day “smart policing” training dreamed up by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, the New York Post reports.
Part of the extensive, $35 million seminar on policing included breathing exercises wherein seasoned cops who keep watch over America’s most populous city learned that they should breathe deeply and relax when posed with angry people in volatile situations.
That part of the training was particularly “not realistic” and “pretty silly,” according to NYPD cops who sat through it.
“They said if you find yourself in a situation that’s getting heated, take a step back, close your eyes and take a deep breath,” one cop told the Post.
“That’s pretty funny — that I would close my eyes in a tense situation,” the amused officer added.
“They want you to stop and think about everything before you do anything, but a lot of times cops have to make a split-second decision, and they don’t have the luxury of stopping and thinking,” another officer forced to sit through the lengthy retraining briefing told the newspaper.
The training was a huge flop overall, according to officers. There was apparently some plan to fight crime with breath mints, explains the Post. It was also “boring.” Several cops were spotted snoozing. Eight out of 10 of New York’s men and women in blue gave it negative reviews.
The “smart policing” training comes in the wake of the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who police say was illegally selling cigarettes. Garner died following a struggle in which a police officer put him in a chokehold. The officer involved was not indicted, but the incident did lead to this set of days-long retraining for Big Apple cops. (RELATED: NYPD Officers Put To Sleep By Eric Garner Inspired Training)
The training also comes less than two months after the execution-style murders of New York City police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
Ramos, 40, and Wenjian Liu, 32, were shot execution-style in their cop car on Dec. 20 by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a black man allegedly seeking revenge for the deaths of Garner and Michael Brown. (RELATED: Hundreds Of Police Officers Turned Against De Blasio At Slain NYPD Officer’s Funeral)
Mayor De Blasio has sworn that the retraining program “will have an impact on millions of people, because every interaction that every officer has with their fellow New Yorkers after they are trained again will be different,” notes the Post.