Baltimore Police Required To Take Empathy Classes

( – Policing in the United States has been in the spotlight over the last several years, especially following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Many Democratic lawmakers called for police departments to be completely abolished, but most scaled back their language after the 2020 presidential election.

However, they still support the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, and President Biden called for its passage on December 21. Meanwhile, the new National Law Enforcement Accountability Database (NLEAD) was launched on December 18, a little over 19 months after Biden took executive action to order its creation. It will track serious misconduct by police officers nationwide.

Other law enforcement agencies are adopting other types of reforms and implementing new programs to change the way policing is conducted. The Baltimore Police Department is working with an organization called Roca to teach officers about the commonalities they share with the people they serve and protect. Roca is an anti-violence organization that works with young people to develop life skills, find jobs, and provide tools to help regulate behavior. The new police officer training is called Rewire4 and is designed to build trust within the community, reduce occurrences of violence among police officers, and prevent negative news headlines.

Lt. Lakeisha Tucker, who is an instructor for the training, discussed the trauma that police officers experience on the job. “This stuff ain’t normal that we see, that we deal with, that we handle on a daily basis,” Tucker said. Officers taking the training were asked to recount a significant experience that personally affected them. The training was created by utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, which help develop stronger neurological pathways through repetitive behaviors. With the use of technology like body cameras, police officers have become more aware of their behavior during encounters.

The training discusses how to be empathic with individuals by refraining from making immediate assumptions based on the type of behavior presented. Another instructor discussed how it is just as wrong to assume that all police are bad as it is to assume that every person the police encounter is bad.

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