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Police and emergency vehicles in Clearwater, Fla. Photo: Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The federal government should develop national standards for training police officers, with a greater emphasis on teaching officers how to de-escalate conflicts rather than just how to use force, a police reform task force says in a new report Thursday.

Why it matters: The recommendation by the Council on Criminal Justice Task Force on Policing, a group of law enforcement and civil rights leaders formed last year, adds weight to the suggestions by other training experts that national standards would help reduce the inconsistency across the country.

  • "Despite its importance, training varies widely in content, duration, and delivery among the 18,000 law enforcement agencies across the country," and much of it "focuses on a militaristic warrior mode ... rather than trust building and problem solving," the report states.
  • By contrast, de-escalation training "shows officers how to defuse situations before force becomes necessary and equips them with tools to evaluate and respond to difficult, volatile, and potentially combative circumstances in real time."

The report also recommends that police departments adopt "duty-to-intervene" policies requiring officers to step in when they see a colleague using excessive force.

  • That responsibility to prevent fellow officers from violent misconduct, rather than staying silent out of loyalty, is also the subject of newer training initiatives including one offered by Georgetown Law's Innovative Policing Program.

Other recommendations:

  • Set up a federal decertification registry so officers who have engaged in misconduct at one police department can't just move to another one.
  • Encourage "trauma-informed policing," in which officers become more aware of trauma in the community they serve — like mental health problems and community violence — and pay more attention to their own exposure to trauma so they don't become violent themselves.
  • Collect more data on police actions and their results, and make it more widely available to the public.

Another report by the group found that offloading some police functions to other responders — like "mobile crisis teams," which send mental health professionals who are trained to deal with mental health crises — have some potential to reduce police shootings.

  • But it also found that there's not a lot of research to show how effective they are, and that mental health calls take up only a small percentage of officers' time.
  • Traffic stops, by contrast, take 18% of officers' time and "could potentially be handled by unarmed officials," per the report.

Go deeper: The slow moves to improve police training

Go deeper

Video shows Louisiana cop beating Black man with flashlight in 2019

Video obtained by AP shows a Louisiana police officer in 2019 beating Aaron Larry Bowman, a Black man, 18 times with a flashlight, as he is heard screaming, "I'm not resisting! I'm not resisting!"

Driving the news: Bowman was left with a broken jaw, three fractured ribs, a broken wrist and a gash to his head that required six staples to close. The officer, who was white, defended the beating by saying it was "pain compliance" to get Bowman into handcuffs.

GOP Rep. Gonzalez retires in face of Trump-backed primary

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) announced his retirement on Thursday, declining to run against a Trump-backed primary challenger in 2022.

Why it matters: Gonzalez has suffered politically since siding with House Democrats to impeach the 45th president after the Capitol riot.

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.