Yesterday, Morgan State University social work faculty took the chance to school police from the city and on campus about the history and social fabric of Baltimore.
Around 70 Baltimore and Morgan State police and public safety officers gathered on the Northeast Baltimore campus Wednesday for the most recent installment of the department’s supplemental training program. Professors spoke to officers about city residents’ ethnic, cultural and generational differences and how those variances surface during interactions with police.
Anna McPhatter, dean of Morgan State’s School of Social Work, said in a release that accounting for those differences among residents is crucial to improving community policing.
Baltimore Police Sgt. Derek Loeffler also pointed out that drug use and addiction among residents are issues that officers confront “on a daily basis.”
He told BPD spokesman T.J. Smith the department has engaged in these additional cultural training sessions over the past year to “introduce officers to all aspects of the community which they serve.”
School officials and faculty have taken a special interest in the issue. “We have to increase our level of understanding about the uniqueness of some of these neighborhoods,” said Morgan State University President David Wilson to Smith.
Morgan State establishes partnership with Baltimore City and University Police for training in cultural competence. pic.twitter.com/MvMSlqm49m
— David Wilson (@morganpres) October 12, 2016
The Department of Justice concluded in their multi-year investigation that Baltimore police have failed to effectively use community policing. “We found a prevalent ‘us-versus-them’ mentality that is incompatible with community policing principles,” the DOJ investigators wrote in the final pages of their report. On another page, they wrote that “most officers think of community policing as distinct from their regular policing duties.”
The hope is that these educational sessions will meaningfully translate to better interactions between officers and residents of all ages and races or ethnicities in the city. If it works, school officials hope the collaboration will become a national model.
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