CA First to Tackle Officers’ Unconscious Bias

     LOS ANGELES (CN) – California will become the first state to train police officers to avoid unconscious bias in a bid to gain public trust and end excessive-force incidents, Attorney General Kamala Harris said Friday.
     Harris’ announcement in Los Angeles follows a three-month review of her own Department of Justice agents’ trainings on implicit bias and the use of force. The Golden State’s top cop plans to use the results of the review as a blueprint to train law enforcement agencies statewide on how to avoid bias and excessive force, she said.
     Unconscious or implicit bias involves both positive and negative mental attitude toward a person or group of people held at the subconscious level – often without intention or even awareness of the bias. But Harris believes her plan will “increase mutual understanding and “strengthen trust” of law enforcement, particularly in communities that have a less than favorable view of police.
     “The sacred trust between the men and women of law enforcement and the communities we serve is essential to a strong and safe California,” Harris said. “California is leading the way by releasing a review of our special agent trainings on implicit bias and the use of force. These actions are being taken with the goal of increasing transparency and with the expectation that California’s law enforcement agencies will use this work as a roadmap to review their own policies.”
     All Department of Justice agents conducting field operations will also begin wearing body cameras, Harris said.
     The unconscious-bias program is being developed by Stanford University, the Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, leaders from the Oakland and Stockton Police Departments and California Partnership for Safe Communities.

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