BRPD gets trained on how to avoid bias
BATON ROUGE - A little more than a year after the shooting death of Alton Sterling, Baton Rouge police are getting lessons on dealing with bias.
Retired police lieutenant Sandra Brown and active Deputy Chief Clarence Hunter travel the country teaching cops about bias. Their program, Fair and Impartial Policing, contends that biased policing is not due to racism. Rather, they say it is built up from preconceived notions that society has.
"Every human being who has contact with other human beings at work needs this training," Brown said.
Brown says that bias goes both ways. While cops may stereotype suspects, the community also has negative opinions about law enforcement.
"We can change this whole stereotype about bad policing and bad neighborhoods by having a positive contact one human being at a time," Brown said. It's one reason why Sgt. L'Jean McKneely says the department invited the training.
"I would say it's a direct result of what's happening here in society as a whole. That image that people have as a whole about police officers," said McKneely.
McKneely says that although the 30 or so officers may think they know about bias, having this program will ensure they know how to deal with it.
"By us teaching that, we know for a fact that we're making an attempt to instill that in an individual," McKneely said.
Lt. Todd Bourgoyne, who participated in the program, agrees.
"After 24 years I feel like I know a lot of this stuff, but it's nice to have someone sit there and remind you exactly how things are," Bourgoyne said.
Bourgoyne says he plans on teaching as many of the 650 officers BRPD has about what he learned in the program.
"Anything that we can do to make that contact better, especially in today's climate, we're going to do it," Bourgoyne said.