Battle Creek Police Given Grant For Bias Training
Police in Battle Creek will be getting some training in spotting bias thanks to a new grant. Here is the information from a City press release:
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — In an unique effort to ensure all Battle Creek Police Department staff have knowledge about how to handle perceptions and biases, the BCPD has received a nearly $350,000 grant to implement department-wide implicit bias training and a baseline study to inform the implementation of new policies and practices.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation awarded the grant, which covers training over the next 18 months in three phases — a session for BCPD command staff and some community members, a session for mid-level police staff, and a “train the trainer” session that will allow the remainder of department staff to be trained during the grant period.
The Fair and Impartial Policing website explains that the FIP perspective both reduces the understandable police defensiveness around the issues of implicit bias and is embraced by members of the community who are concerned about biased policing. These impacts are critical to creating change in communities — change that can happen jointly by police and the residents they serve.
The training program will help police staff learn how biases – present with even well-intentioned people – can have an impact on community interactions and how best to handle those. The program also includes trips to the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. and the Jim Crow Museum in Big Rapids to show how biases can negatively impact a community if they are not recognized.
The BCPD has participated in racial diversity training, but nothing to the extent of the planned sessions. Staff see the training as an opportunity to educate the department in a proactive way.
“This is something we want to do,” said Kathy Schley, special projects and grants administrator. “We recognize this as an issue of national concern and want to get in front of it.”
Training will begin this fall and will be open to other Calhoun County law enforcement agencies. Following the sessions, the BCPD plans to work with the Kellogg Community College Center for Diversity and Innovation to create an ongoing curriculum on bias issues to help educate officers throughout their careers.
For more information on the program, visit www.fairimpartialpolicing.com.