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Posted on: March 31, 2017

Maplewood Police Department Receives “Fair and Impartial Policing” Instructor Certifications

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In recent years government officials, community leaders and police executives have engaged in a national discussion involving policing, bias and the critical need to enhance police-community relations by enhancing public trust and legitimacy for law enforcement agencies. Within New Jersey the goal to improve police-community relations has been advanced by the NJ Attorney General in establishing a mandatory police continuing education program outlined in the NJ Attorney General’s Directive 2016-5 issued on October 4, 2016. The directive requires all sworn law enforcement officers to participate continuing education courses on cultural diversity to enhance police-community relations.

Recognizing the importance and exigency of this issue, Chief Robert Cimino and Sgt. Thomas DiMaggio recently attended an instructional training course known as “Fair and Impartial Policing - Training of Trainers”  in order to ensure that the Maplewood Police Department would be at the forefront of newly mandated cultural diversity training.  The course was hosted and funded by the Essex County Prosecutors Office in February of 2017. Both officers are now certified instructors for the course, which will be presented to all Maplewood officers. Chief Cimino has prioritized the training so it is scheduled to begin in the first quarter of the year with the goal of having every sworn officer trained by June 1, 2017.

According to a US Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs Press Release regarding this training; The Fair and Impartial Policing training is specifically designed to enhance officers' understanding of how bias — including implicit or unconscious bias — affects officer behavior, and the impact that biased policing has on officers and the community. (November 6, 2014)

The Fair and Impartial Policing curriculum was developed with the support of the US Department of Justice and based upon research conducted by Dr. Lori Fridell, a national expert on racially biased policing. Fair and Impartial Policing is based on research and the science of human bias. A fundamental concept of the course establishes that all people, even well-intentioned people, have biases.  Research has shown that while some bias is explicit and purposeful; some is unconscious or “implicit” - a result of subtle associations and stereotypes that people make. Fortunately, social psychologists have found that when equipped with information and motivation, police officers, (like all people in general), can implement measured (unbiased) responses that override the automatic associations and biases that exist for all people. The implementation of these concepts in policing is meant to supplement the Maplewood officer’s existing skills and training and to reaffirm the commitment that Maplewood Police actions be fair, impartial and procedurally just. The Fair and Impartial Policing Course meets the requirements of NJ Attorney General’s Directive 2016-5.

The Maplewood Police Department is proactive in training all personnel, including the Recruit / Patrol Officers and Command Level Supervisors.  Over the years, as an accredited agency, the department has further trained all personnel in Bias Based Policing, Cultural Diversity Sensitivity, and all mandated training in compliance with the New Jersey Attorney General Guidelines. The “Fair and Impartial Policing” course will build upon the existing knowledge, skills and abilities of Maplewood officers. All Maplewood Police training aligns squarely with our agency’s commitment to serve citizens fairly, professionally and to buttress a foundation of trust with all members of the community we serve.

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