Fair and Impartial Policing: A Science Based Perspective

From Chis Widmer, Tucson Police Department

Tucson Police Commanders received eight hours of training on October 14, 2014, on the “Fair and Impartial Policing Perspective.” Dr. Lorie Fridell, an Associate Professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Behavioral & Community Science, instructed the class. Dr. Fridell has over 20 years of experience conducting research in the field of law enforcement and is nationally renowned for her work on bias-based policing. Prior to joining the University of South Florida, Dr. Fridell served for six years as the Director of Research at the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) in Washington, D.C. The United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) helped to make this training a reality.

Chief Roberto Villaseñor mandated the course as part of the Department’s annual continuing training program. This training reflects a new and scientific approach to thinking about the issues of bias in modern policing. Through voluminous research, scientists have determined that bias today is less likely to manifest as explicit bias (such as racism) and more likely to manifest as “implicit bias.” Social psychologists have shown that “implicit” or “unconscious” bias can impact what people perceive and do, even in people who consciously hold non-prejudiced attitudes. Like explicit bias, implicit bias can produce discriminatory actions. This training is designed to make personnel aware of their implicit biases and to give them the tools they need to reduce and manage them.

The Tucson Police Department is committed to providing the best possible service to our community. This training will help us to foster better relationships and communications between our officers and all members of the public.

Ms. Fridell will be spending the next three days training future trainers, who will then train all Tucson Police officers on the science of fair and impartial policing. Chief Villaseñor and Dr. Fridell will be available to discuss this training with media personnel on October 16, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. at Tucson Fire Central, 200 S. Fire Central Pl. For further information contact Sergeant Chris Widmer.