Photo via College of the Redwoods.

Press release from College of the Redwoods:

The College of the Redwoods Basic Law Enforcement Academy Advisory Committee has released its findings. The committee, comprised of local law enforcement leadership as well as representatives from Native Tribes and Black, LGBTQ, and Latinx interest groups, was convened in November to take a comprehensive look at the Law Enforcement Academy’s curriculum in order to address potential racial bias.

Some of the recommendations from the advisory committee have already been implemented for the next Academy class, starting January 11, 2021. They include a grappling component in the defensive tactics curriculum in an effort to reduce lethal force, more de-escalation training, the inclusion of Crisis Intervention Training, and an emphasis on critical thinking. Additionally, Explicit and Implicit Bias tests will be used as a source for discussion on how these biases influence the role of the officer and their effect on interactions with the public. 

In future cohorts, discussions on power dynamics in the field will explore the ethics of power and authority, and examine structural and institutional racism and how it contributes to a power imbalance. Trauma Informed Policing will be incorporated in an effort to aid in understanding intergenerational trauma and on-going oppression of communities typically labeled as “dysfunctional.” This will address stigma by educating students on the prevalence of substance use disorders and mental illness, and encourage discussions about connections between historical trauma and addiction, mental illness, and co-occurring disorders among communities that have been historically disempowered and oppressed. 

The Academy will seek to create a culture where it is ok to ask for help, and will help officers work with members of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially transgender identities.

“I am extremely thankful for everything our police officers do and am proud that CR’s police academy produces officers who are honest, intelligent, kind, and determined,” said CR President Keith Flamer. “The recommendations the Committee sent to me will only make an excellent police academy even better. I want to thank all of the community members who participated in the curriculum review process. Their input was invaluable. I look forward to the ongoing conversations.”

CR’s new Administration of Justice Director Michael Perkins also embraces the findings, saying “I see the recommendations put forth by the advisory committee as a great road map to further develop our program. We are very proud that many of the concepts for development are already in place and we have great ideas on where we can further build on these successes.”

“The Basic Law Enforcement Academy of College of the Redwoods has been a vital training program for our communities,” said incoming CR Board president Danny Kelley. “The Board of Trustees stand behind President Dr. Flamer and Director Perkins as they seek to enhance officer training with the excellent and timely recommendations of the Advisory Committee. Law enforcement is a difficult and thankless job. CR is committed to supporting the Academy and to providing future officers with the best training possible for the protection and benefit of all members of our community.”

The Committee will meet again early next year with Mr. Perkins and coordinator Greg Allen and further recommendations will be forthcoming.