Henrico, Richmond officers receive training in fair and impartial policing

Command level officers will eventually train all sworn officers in both departments to ensure fair policing practices.

On the heels of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, along with other recent incidents involving excessive police force, a passionate conversation about racial profiling and fair policing practices has bubbled up to the surface.

In an effort to ensure officers practice fair and impartial, policing, command level members of the Henrico and Richmond police departments recently took part in a course on the topic.

Command level staff successfully completed the Fair and Impartial Policing conduct class, put together by Dr. Lorie Fridell.

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 covers 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.

Eventually, every sworn officer in Richmond and Henrico will take the course. The two local police departments have also collaborated and identified personnel who will receive the train-the-trainer segment of Fair and Impartial Policing, to take these practices down the chain of command. This cadre of officers will be tasked with training all sworn personnel in both agencies.

Participation in this training follows shortly after the announcement that all Henrico Police will wear body cameras by January 2016, if all goes as planned, through a gradual rollout process–yet another tool empowering citizens and encouraging responsible and fair policing practices.

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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