Racial profiling has long plagued law enforcement. Officers sometimes act on prejudices, and they may be wrongfully accused of doing so, says the Tampa Bay Times. We all have biases whether or not we know it, says University of South Florida criminologist Lorie Fridell, who has a $1 million federal grant to help law enforcement nationwide reduce and manage their biases. This month, in Sanford, Fl., she trained 25 police instructors who had traveled from across North America for her ‘Fair and Impartial Policing’ program.
They were skeptical. Law enforcement officers are accustomed to being told not to stereotype. Fridell is used to resistance. She has a different approach – a science-based one that explains that every human has subconscious biases that affect their perceptions. She’s not aiming to change people who admit to being sexist or racist. Most police don’t fit into that category. Instead, she homes in on the ‘implicit’ biases, which go far beyond race. The key, she says, is recognizing biases, then learning how to manage them. The U.S. Justice Department funds her to teach with Anna Laszlo, who has 32 years of experience building law enforcement training curriculums, and retired Palo Alto police Lt. Sandra Brown.