INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — IMPD and community members came together tonight to uncover what goes on in the minds of officers on the job. Their goal is to uncover implicit bias and learning how to move beyond it as the city works to heal the relationship between police and the community.
Let’s start with a refresher of the definition of implicit bias It’s defined as subconsciously judging someone and their qualities just because they’re a member of a certain social group.
Research shows IMPD officers were doing that in our community, and now they’re making an effort to change that. But this time they’re doing it alongside community members to open the door to healthy communication on both sides.
“Sometimes you know you’re riding in your car and there’s a police officer behind you, and you might feel kind of nervous or scared. So things like that to hopefully dispel all of those type of fears because we shouldn’t fear the people that are sent here to serve and protect us,” community member Ryan L. Bennett said.
This implicit bias training was held at the Indianapolis Urban League and is the direct result of going straight to the people. The city county council has been holding community conversations all around the city hearing from neighbors.
“Implicit bias was an issue that was out here that people wanted to know if the police were doing it. We found out the police were doing it, but there was also an opportunity to explain that idea to the community as a whole,” SPEA at IUPUI Community Engagement Director Marshawn Wolley said.
Lori White, executive director of the Citizens Police Complaint Board, says calls to her office have increased so much so her office is trying to catch up. So her team wants to make sure they know how to handle the calls and hold police accountable if necessary.
“So that we can be as informed as possible what implicit bias looks like, how we can apply that to the complaint process, and make sure we don’t have any biases in as we intake the complaints,” White said.
Chief Bryan Roach says the fair and impartial police training sessions have been an eye-opening experience.
“And you often forget how what you do and what you say or your actions and how they’re perceived, so it’s an eye opener to chief of police and most definitely our officers on the street,” Roach said.
Roach says he wants these classes to continue in a sincere way and not just in reaction to a clash with police and community.