SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A controversial police training class used all over the country has been cancelled in Santa Clara County for sheriff’s deputies due to issues with the aggressive tone of the training.
Critics say even the name of the police training session – a workshop called “Bulletproof” that is organized by Calibre Press — raises concerns.
The Bulletproof seminar is an intense two-day class taught all around the country by a pair of highly experienced military and police officers.
The promotional video shows the pair of tough talking instructors covering topics like accountability, the stresses of the job and the importance of communication on the beat.
“If you cannot communicate, you’re screwed,” an instructor is heard saying in the promotional clip.
It was Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith who made the decision to cancel the training.
“I’m familiar with this company, and I thought this training wasn’t necessarily aligned with what our values are, or the direction that we want to go,” said Smith. “And so I asked them to cancel.”
Smith said she was already in the process of canceling the class when she got a message from Oakland Privacy, an advocacy group.
“This is a huge win for us,” said Oakland Privacy’s Susan Harman.
The class was originally named “Bulletproof Warrior,” but the company removed the term warrior after getting complaints.
Philado Castile, the Minnesota man who was shot and killed on Facebook live earlier in July, was shoot by an officer who took the Bulletproof training.
Oakland Privacy told Sheriff Smith such classes make law enforcement officers paranoid.
“That whole stance toward the community. That cops are in a war zone and we are the enemy is what everyone is trying to combat right now,” said Harman.
KPIX 5 spoke with Sally Wiggins, the attorney for Calibre Press, who joined us from Oregon via FaceTime.
“They’re using it to incite dialogue without ever having attended the classes,” said Wiggins.
Wiggins told KPIX 5 the criticisms are all taken out of context, and that classes are cover a wide range of topics, not just use of force.
However, Calibre has received threats.
“As of right now, the class is not canceled, but it is about the safety of everybody,” explained Wiggins. “They are not going to conduct a class that’s going to put the lives of officers at risk. They’re not succumbing to the pressure of some advocacy group.”
The status of the class that was scheduled to be offered in the South Bay is in limbo due to the threats received, so a new location has not been announced. Sheriff Smith said that if the class is still held, she is recommending that Santa Clara County deputies not attend.