6:00: Morning News

Law enforcement professional with Morgantown ties reacts to Memphis police brutality case

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Former Morgantown Police Chief Ed Preston believes a lack of proper training and self-control played major roles in the beating death of Tyre Nichols by Memphis police.

Ed Preston

Preston, who now works for Benchmark Professional Seminars, a law enforcement company that he founded, said none of the officers took control of the situation, and because of that, a “mob mentality” took over. Because of the lack of order, adrenaline flowed to the point that all parties were going through the “fight or flight syndrome.”

“I saw nothing along the lines of a clear communication to Nichols as to what the officers were doing, what they were investigating, and why they wanted him to step out of the car,” Preston Friday on MetroNews “Talkline.”

According to Preston, Nichols was processing commands from multiple officers within a matter of seconds, which continued for minutes. When other officers arrived on scene, they appeared to continue the chaos rather than seek order.

“From a trainer’s perspective, Mr. Nichols was in overload, he was in psychological overload because he told them he was down and he was good as he was going to the ground,” Preston said.

Preston said responders benefit from stress inoculation training. The training provides recruits and officers with gradually escalating situations, from a verbal altercation up to and including the use of force and continuing while injured or partially incapacitated. Research shows the training helps control the release and rush of adrenaline during stressful situations.

“We see this so many times in foot pursuits and vehicle pursuits. All of the adrenaline dump and aren’t able to shut that switch off immediately coming out of it.”

The number of officers leaving the profession the leaving departments short staffed which means longer shifts in tough conditions in some cases. According to Preston, training is a sound investment that can lives and liability.

“The emphasis on efficiency is being lost because we worry about how fast we can get to a call and not how effectively we can handle the call,” Preston said. “The effectiveness happens with training; you have to put money into training.”

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