Police program to emphasize “fairness” in law enforcement

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Local police are learning new law enforcement techniques.

The Hampshire County District Attorney’s office is introducing this program to ensure equal enforcement of the law.

At a time when cultural and racial tensions are running high, new emphasis and training is being focused on local police officers treating everyone equally.

Officers across Hampshire & Franklin counties are participating in “Fair and Impartial Police Training.”

The private courses are held twice a month. The program has 3 goals. Recognizing biases, how they impact an officer’s behavior, and creating solutions to minimize or reduce them.

UMass Deputy Police Chief Ian Cyr said these lessons are supported by scientific research, “Bias is a human condition. Bias is not confined to police officers. It’s important for all service providers to understand that bias can impact how they provide that service.”

A section of the curriculum also focuses on tearing down some biases that police officers might already have. They do this by getting those police officers involved with those members of the community.

Northampton officers trade “Pokemon-like” cards to engage with youth

Deputy Chief Cyr said this exposure helps reduce perceptions of stereotypes and labels.

Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper told 22News this specialized training is crucial for her department, “Something as gigantic and far reaching as racism is not a one-and-done thing. We can’t just have a class and think “It’s all set, we’ve fixed it.” It’s not how it is. It’s an ongoing learning process.”

Wednesday’s private course was their fourth training day. This part of the training will be completed in September.