I get to work with some very serious people on the street.
A 55 year-old man was shot dead in a parking lot in the 900 block of Copley Road in Akron this past Sunday. I absolutely work with people who are capable of this kind of killing.
There is an interesting psychology of a person who could kill someone over a seemingly little thing.
It's rage. It's a demand for dignity and respect.
Humans are funny.
I once saw a man in the middle of the winter come to our, now closed, day center wearing just a t-shirt and shorts. He was freezing. But he was mentally strong.
I've also seen a man who felt like no one cared at all about him who lost all will to live even though he was warm and dry.
Our psychological state of mind is critically important to a human being.
And then there is a lack of fear. I often tell people my fear switch is broken. I'm just not afraid of things that other people are afraid of. I see that in these fight-to-the-death men as well.
I can tell you with 100% certainty that you can't escalate something enough to win a battle with these kinds of people. Escalation will turn to physical force every time. The ONLY hope you have of not going to something physical is de-escalation.
And then we need to talk about the kind of person that becomes a police officer. Some of them have very similar qualities to a person who is willing to go all-in on a fight. They are not going to lose a fight. "Don't walk away from me," is something I hear police say to people all the time. That's pride and dignity talking.
I see my homeless friends use amazing de-escalation techniques all the time with violently angry, insane people. It works every time.
I need to work on my de-escalation techniques. My pride and dignity and lack of fear often make me raise the tensions of a situation. In a fight or flight situation, I instinctively fight. It's something I need to work on.
As mayor, we are definitely going to provide more de-escalation training for our police. It's not a tool that's right for every situation. But it's a tool that is right for quite a few situations, I think.
I suspect many of our police are already doing this. But we really need to think about what happened in the Jayland Walker case. And if that happened, where else is it happening on less extreme situations? That's why we need much more police oversight in our city. We aren't trying to punish police. We are all just trying to get better. We must look at the difficult things and think about them open and honestly.