ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - Sheriff's deputies already undergo training for what their job requires, but deputies in Pasquotank County will soon undergo additional de-escalation training now that the county's Board of Commissioners has approved funding for a new program.
The goal of the de-escalation program will be to help reduce unneeded excessive force and increase community trust.
"It's something that everybody in the nation needs to do," Rick James, a retired Norfolk Police officer, said. "It's not just Pasquotank County law enforcement - it's something that everybody needs to do."
James has 30-plus years of experience in law enforcement. He is currently a crime analyst and is a former criminal justice professor at Tidewater Community College.
"It's almost like a reset, if you will, that the law enforcement officers are doing," James explained. "If we don't do a reset, it's only going to get worse, and public trust is going to end up being where you have people that don't follow the rules and the laws if they don't trust our government and our law enforcement."
Pasquotank County has come under fire earlier this year after the death of Andrew Brown Jr.
"Doing nothing is also an option," James said. "They didn't take that route; they are - it looks like - they're trying to do something positive to build a relationship with the public, and that's always a good thing for law enforcement."
The company Blue to Gold would train the deputies. On its website, it says they specialize in legal education and training for law enforcement agencies across the United States.
The total cost will be $9,000. It was approved by the finance committee in a previous meeting, and the Board of Commissioners voted to approve the funding Monday night.
"I really appreciate them taking this move in the right direction, and I hope they get the funding date that they need," James said before the vote.
The sheriff's office is now looking between January 4-6 for the classes.
The sheriff's office also told News 3 they are looking to administer "Duty to Intervene" courses. These courses would train deputies to step in in situations if they believe their fellow deputy is using excessive force.