On Friday night, as a group of protesters made their way through downtown Rochester, Rochester Police Chief Jim Franklin spoke with the Post Bulletin on training, building community relationships and reflection.
Asked if anything had changed within the department and its training policies following the death last March of a Rochester man in police custody, Franklin said they “are constantly striving toward continuous improvement and evaluation of how we can get better as a profession, as an organization and as officers.”
“We are going to strive daily as a police department to build trust in this first class community we serve,” he said. “We are committed to intensifying our efforts in this and part of that is taking a hard look at our training and how we do things.”
On where the department goes from this moment in history to repair, maintain or build relationships with the community, Franklin pointed to his personal philosophy of building relationships.
“The minute I saw that video, I picked up the phone and called several community leaders and just started that dialogue and just starting that conversation of where do we go from here. How do we heal?” Franklin said. “It's that tireless effort to build and maintain relationships that helps build trust in this community that I hope will serve us all well. I am committed to that. I am committed to continuing to build those relationships so that we can foster trust within the community.”
Franklin said it has been a time of reflection for him as a chief. He pointed to the department’s recently redone core mission, vision and values as an example of what he expects from his department.
On the topic of training officers in use of force, Franklin said officers train annually on response to resistance.
“It is important to understand, when we do this training, we put the officers in the holds so that they understand that kind of pain compliance concept,” Franklin said. “Second, we do not train to put the knee on the neck.”
Franklin also said that during training, officers talk about the need to evaluate the person they are dealing with and if that person loses consciousness, the first priority becomes rendering first aid.
The department does have a policy on the duty to intercede, which Franklin said means if any officer observes another officer using force that is clearly beyond that which is objectively reasonable they should intercede.