Henrico police chief invites public to discuss fair and impartial policing

‘Coffee with the Chief’ aims to engage the community in an open, two-way discussion on the subject Saturday morning.

Following extensive department training regarding fair and impartial policing practices, Henrico police chief Douglas Middleton invites the public out for coffee to discuss the topic.

A major topic of discussion following the recent incidents of police brutality and alleged racial profiling in 2014, Chief Middleton hopes to engage the community in an open, two-way discussion to address citizen concerns and inform the public about Henrico County’s steps towards ensuring impartial policing.

Taking steps to achieve that goal, command level members of the Henrico and Richmond police departments took part in a course on fair and impartial policing practices put together by Dr. Lorie Fridell late last year.

The comprehensive training program applies the modem science of bias to policing and trains officers on the effect of implicit bias and provides information and skills needed to reduce their implicit biases.

The course covered eight basic principles including:

  • All people, even well-intentioned people, have biases;
  • Having biases is normal to human functioning;
  • Biases are often unconscious or “implicit”, thus influencing choices and actions without conscious thinking or decision-making;
  • Policing based on biases or stereotypes is unsafe, ineffective and unjust;
  • Fair and impartial policing is the cornerstone of procedural justice and important for the achievement of agency legitimacy;
  • Officers can learn skills to reduce or manage their own biases;
  • Supervisors can learn to recognize bias behaviors in their direct reports and take corrective action when they detect bias based policing, and;
  • Law enforcement executives and their command-level staff can implement a comprehensive agency program to produce fair and impartial policing.

To increase transparency and ensure officers serve the public professionally in all situations, the department purchased body cameras for all sworn officers totaling $800 apiece in 2014. The cameras will be demonstrated to the public at the event Saturday morning.

Coffee With The ChiefCoffee with the Chief takes place Saturday morning, February 28th, at the Henrico County Administration Board Room at 4301 East Parham Road in the West End. The discussion begins at 8:30 AM. Coffee will be provided to all attendees.

The event is free and open to the public, but you must RSVP in advance online to attend.

Photo: Henrico Police

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Trevor Dickerson

Trevor Dickerson loves all things Richmond and manages RVANews’ West of the Boulevard and West End community sites.

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