Punta Gorda Police Department revamps policies and procedures
It’s been six months since the new Punta Gorda police chief took over the department and new policies are now in place. The goal — reshaping the department.
One of the changes is training officers on critical thinking and de-escalating skills.
Chief Pamela R. Davis took over the police department on Jan. 2, 2018.
Davis, who is the first woman to lead the department, replaced former police chief Tom Lewis.
Lewis was acquitted of culpable negligence in the August 2016 death of retired librarian Mary Knowlton, who was gunned down by former officer Lee Coel during a “shoot-don’t shoot” citizens academy training exercise.
All of this training is partly in response to the tragedy at the academy to make sure it never happens again.
Chief Davis is making changes to its training policies, saying “We now require them, you have to submit a safety plan every time you do a scenario type training.”
That training plan designates a safety officer, who’s sole responsibility is making sure everything runs smoothly and no live weapons are brought in.
New signs remind those involved in the training to leave the weapons behind.
People we talked to say the new precautions are good.
John Feuchack of Punta Gorda said, “Accidents do happen, but it would have prevented this had it been done before the incident.”