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Procedural justice and implicit bias training for Eureka Police Department

EPD Sergeant, Ed Wilson and Detective Corrie Watson

Monday, October 8, 2018, the Eureka Police Department (EPD) completed it's second 8-hour training session on Procedural Policing, where 15 members of the EPD participated in a discussion of procedural justice and implicit bias, taught by certified EPD instructors.

According to the Eureka Police Department, the core curriculum of this training was created by the California Department of Justice and P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards and Training), with the assistance of Stanford University professors. The topics covered in these trainings include ethics, legitimacy, policing goals, cynicism, history, implicit bias and what changes police can start making now.

According to one of the instructors, Detective Corrie Watson:

“Sergeant Ed Wilson and I have trained 34 of our officers to date in the Principled Policing curriculum provided by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.). The class emphasizes the four tenants of procedural justice which are: voice, neutrality, respect, and trustworthiness. We also teach about implicit bias and what the science has taught us about human behavior. We brainstorm ideas on how to move past the barriers created by implicit biases between law enforcement and the community and discuss strategies to help implement these ideas in our everyday work.”

Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson had this to say about the Principled Policing training:

“This training reflects our continuing commitment to building trust and legitimacy within our community and organization. Each day EPD officers have hundreds of encounters with members of our community. We understand the nature and process of an encounter can be even more impactful than the outcome in shaping a community member’s appraisal of the interaction. Our legitimacy as law enforcement officers is derived not only by what we do, but by how we do it.

Each new police-community interaction represents an opportunity to create an affirmative experience that informs the beliefs people hold about the officers sworn to protect and serve them. Procedural justice concepts have the potential to strengthen the relationship of trust and understanding between law enforcement and communities.”

Additional information about Principled Policing training follows:

“The 8-hour P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certified course combines the principles of Procedural Justice and Implicit Bias in order to create a broad awareness of these two important concepts. Procedural Justice is a research-based and cost-effective paradigm that was designed to increase peace officer’s ability to improve the public’s confidence and trust in law enforcement agencies. One of the main principles of Procedural Justice is the development of a spirit of teamwork between law enforcement agencies and community members. Implicit bias is described as the thoughts or feelings about social groups of which people may be unaware, yet can influence their decisions and actions.

Law enforcement can improve trust and relationships between law enforcement agencies and their communities by using these principles to evaluate their policies, procedures and training within their departments. In addition, developing an understanding of these two concepts will enable law enforcement to improve safety and well-being for the public and law enforcement alike.”

There will be a third Procedural Policing session planned for the first quarter of 2019.

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