Addressing implicit human bias is now part of an annual curriculum for Columbia Police officers. This year, Sgt. Mike Hestir with the Columbia Police Department (CPD) Community Outreach Unit (COU) facilitated several sessions of Fair and Impartial Policing Training for CPD officers' continuing education requirements. Now, all sworn personnel at CPD have received the training and will continue to receive it on an annual basis.
"All human beings have implicit bias. Our officers are human beings, so we're addressing our implicit bias," says Sgt. Hestir.
The course is based on scientific studies of human bias and helps to illuminate bias exhibited by all humans. The intent of the course is to educate participants about human bias and ways to avoid its influence on decisions, specifically decisions made by our police officers.
"This training was a good reminder that we all have biases," says Sgt. Bob Dochler, Accreditation Manager and Supervisor of the Public Relations Unit. "Keeping this fact in mind, I can make a conscious effort to prevent or keep biases from creeping into my interactions with the people I serve."
CPD has discussed diversity and Missouri racial profiling laws for over two decades at officers' in-service training. The Fair and Impartial Policing Training provided an extension to those discussions and uses specific scenarios for officers to recognize their own implicit biases.
Starting January 1, 2017, the Missouri Department of Public Safety is mandating changes to the continuing education requirements to maintain a peace officer license. Rather than 48 hours of training every three years, police officers will now go through 24 hours of training annually. Two hours of fair and impartial policing practices including implicit bias recognition is part of this requirement. With implementing the Fair and Impartial Policing Training in 2016, CPD was proactive in meeting these standards.
On November 5, 2016, Sgt. Hestir facilitated the same Fair and Impartial Policing Training for citizens in the City of Columbia that is has been provided to our officers. The course had 43 citizens in attendance with additional media personnel. It was aired on the City Channel and is available on their website at the links below. A "debrief" session meant for feedback on the training was held with the participants on November 15, 2016. Overall, the training was well-received and appreciated by the participants.
Fair & Impartial Policing Training Part 1 - http://gocolumbiamo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=b86c48fa-a6b6-11e6-9380-00219ba2f017
Fair & Impartial Policing Training Part 2 (Warning: includes explicit language) - http://gocolumbiamo.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=5d857d87-a6b6-11e6-9380-00219ba2f017