Bridgeport, Conn. (March 17, 2015) – Members of the Bridgeport Police Department attended a nationally-recognized training program last week designed to build upon community trust.
The program, called “Fair and Impartial Policing,” aims to eliminate subconscious bias in policing. Dr. Lorie Fridell, a former Director of Research at the Police Executive Research Forum and a national expert on policing, developed the program and has been providing training sessions to police departments across the country.
“Bridgeport continues to get better every day, and a large part of that is due to the hard work of both the Bridgeport Police Department and our community as a whole,” Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch said. “This training enhances the foundation of trust we already have, and illustrates the commitment our city has towards fostering a positive relationship between the community and the police department that serves it. It’s just smart, progressive policing.”
Currently, the Bridgeport Police Department has the most diverse police force in the state and is currently conducting a major recruiting effort to make the department even more reflective of the community. The Meriden Record Journal’s editorial board recently applauded Mayor Bill Finch and the police department for its diversity and recruitment efforts, and crime in Bridgeport is currently at historic lows. When compared to similar sized cities in New England, Bridgeport has seen the largest decrease in violent crime over the past decade.
The “fair and impartial policing perspective” reflects a new way of thinking about the issue of biased policing. It is based on research that says policing is not, as some contend, due to widespread racism. In fact, even well intentioned officers can manifest biases that impact their perceptions and behavior. This program works to help police officers examine those biases and to take steps to overcome them.
Two Bridgeport supervisors attended the three-day, train-the-trainer session at the University of Hartford last week. Those supervisors now will bring those lessons back to Bridgeport and conduct training here.
Dr. Fridell said she was impressed that the Bridgeport Police Department attended the training not because they were facing strong criticism from their community but because the departments recognized this is a national issue and “they are trying to get ahead of it.”
“Our police department is working hard every day to build upon the great relationship we have with the community. There are times when departments go through this type of training after a crisis. That’s not the case in Bridgeport,” Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph L. Gaudett Jr. said. “We’re doing this because it is the right thing and the smart thing to do, and will only serve to make us better at protecting this city.”
- Click here to learn more about the Bridgeport Police Department’s efforts to reduce crime and increase community trust: http://bit.ly/1wIarvK.