Comply then complain: Police search for new ways to gain public trust

Protestors march down New York Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Twitter/@coltraveler)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJLA) - In the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York City, protests against police force continue.

From Colorado all the way to Paris, it seems to be difficult to be a police officer these days.

We asked experts if citizens can diffuse confrontations with police by complying first, then complaining later if they feel their rights have been violated.

Some say an officer's tone can encourage compliance - this tactical training tip is from the website

So if you're a police officer, start by asking for their cooperation first. It's going to make your job a lot easier.

Retired officer Vernon Herron of the University of Maryland's Center for Health and Homeland Security said some citizens do comply, but still with tragic results.

John Geer , a northern Virginia man, was shot and killed by Fairfax County Police in 2013 in the doorway of his home. It was a case of mistaken identity. A mobile phone picture even shows Geer with his hands up before he was shot.

"When it gets to the point where you have to pull your firearm, your training should be comprehensive enough where you know you have the right to discharge that firearm," said Herron.

Herron and others acknowledge the difficult job that police officers have. He believes several things would help police do their jobs;

- More thorough background investigations of candidates
- Sustained, ongoing, training for officers
- Clear guidelines on use of deadly force if officers are ever confused.

In addition to those items, there are growing calls for police to establish better relationships in the communities where they serve - relationships that experts tell us can't be established overnight.

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