Police officers are liable to face any number of adversaries, and the ones they should never underestimate are subconscious biases that can affect how they approach certain people.
This week, Astoria Police became the first department to use a new officer training tool that focuses on recognizing, and rooting out, “implicit biases” — the beliefs and assumptions that people form about others based on race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexuality, class, weight, disability and other features that lend themselves to stereotypes.
Most people allow biases to influence their behavior, often without realizing it. And, in law enforcement, implicit biases can shape officers’ decisions and interactions, including whether to use lethal force.
“If you start out with bias, that bias will affect your performance,” Police Chief Brad Johnston said.
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