So far, upwards of 200 Baltimore police officers have gone through training intended to counter their subconscious racial — and other — biases. By the end of next year, all 2,800 are expected to have received the training.
Lorie Fridell, an associate professor in criminology at the University of South Florida, developing the “fair and impartial policing” program, which has been employed by various police departments across the United States to improve policing and restore community trust.
Baltimore police have their own community trust issue after the Baltimore Sun reported that in the past four years the city paid out $5.7 million to more than 100 victims of police brutality. The victims were predominantly black. But even before those figures were widely known, residents commonly complained that “white officers often treat black residents like criminals.”
Fridell’s program takes officers through various roleplaying exercises that present a given situation and then repeat it with ages, races, and genders changed to see how various biases determine their actions.
Fridell said that her training works best with officers who earnestly want to improve their policing and is not particularly effective against officers who are consciously bigoted.
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