NYPD to start 'implicit bias' training

The entire force will take eight hours of “implicit bias” training designed to help cops handle interactions with the public more effectively and fairly


By Laura Dimon and Rocco Parascandola
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — NYPD officers are being asked to confront their biases and work through them so they can become better cops.

Over the next two years, the entire force will take eight hours of “implicit bias” training designed to help cops handle interactions with the public more effectively and fairly.

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill speaks to new graduates of the Police Academy during their graduation ceremony in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill speaks to new graduates of the Police Academy during their graduation ceremony in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“It’s a topic that’s been widely discussed for decades, and training like this is happening at law enforcement agencies across the nation,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill wrote in an internal memo sent to NYPD members Monday. “The goal of this training is to help us understand our attitudes, and how to best use our judgment, experience, and intelligence to be as effective and safe as possible,”

O’Neill said that while crime is at an all-time low in the city, “historical mistrust of the police remains a reality in some neighborhoods.”

Special training is needed to break down that barrier, he added.

“Only through our absolute commitment to providing fair and impartial police service to all New Yorkers, will we earn and maintain respect and support — in every neighborhood,” O’Neill said.

First Deputy Police Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said that implicit bias is subtle and can be exhibited in ways not even the offender realizes — making it far harder at times to address than explicit bias.

“This is awareness training,” Tucker said. “We want them to understand (their biases) and to give them some sense of why this might occur. Once they’re aware of it hopefully that won’t influence their decision making...how they treat the people they encounter.”

The training, which will cost $4.5 million, is run by Lorie Fridell, a criminology professor at the University of South Florida.

Working beyond biases can make for a better police force, she said.

“Policing based on bias and stereotypes can make you unsafe, ineffective and unjust,” she said.

The NYPD said that even commanders and executives will take the course, “Fair and Impartial Training,” so they more objectively evaluate rank-and-file officers and make better personnel decisions.

©2018 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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