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De-escalation training can potentially reduce police shootings, says former Detroit police chief

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Key Points
  • Isaiah McKinnon explains how de-escalation training can save lives as tensions rise between police and residents across the U.S.
  • As protests break out against police shootings, McKinnon said that it will be important for police departments across the country to look at the types of people they’re bringing into the ranks of law enforcement.
VIDEO3:1103:11
Former Detroit police chief on police the shooting of Adam Toledo

Isaiah McKinnon, former chief of police and deputy mayor of Detroit, explained the importance of de-escalation training and how it can save lives as tensions rise between police and residents across the U.S.

"De-escalation is the potential answer... I had almost a similar circumstance, where I stopped a person, a young kid who had a weapon, and I pulled my gun on him. He had the gun out; it turned out it was a toy gun," said McKinnon. "It could have been awful for this young man, and certainly for myself, but you have that split second you want to de-escalate as much as possible." 

On March 29 Officer Eric Stillman fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo. Surveillance video appeared to show Adam throw away a gun that he was holding right before he turned to face the officer. His hands appeared empty at the time he was shot. Stillman was placed on administrative duty for 30 days. 

McKinnon told CNBC's "The News with Shepard Smith" that what occurred on March 29 was "the worst-case scenario for any law enforcement officer," and that officers "can't literally give the first shot to the other person," during those split-second decisions. 

As protests break out against police shootings, McKinnon told host Shepard Smith that it will be important for police departments across the country to look at the types of people they're bringing into the ranks of law enforcement. 

"We want to make sure that they make the right decisions, and that's so important in terms of who we bring in, what kind of training, and if it's a daily, yearly, monthly, yearly training for officers who have to face these kinds of situations," McKinnon said.