Denver police are using a social psychologist to study whether the department is doing everything possible to rid itself of racial and gender bias, the Associated Press reports. Police Chief Gerry Whitman commissioned the study by Phllip Goff, a University of California at Los Angeles professor known as an expert in what scholars call “racism without racists.” “This will get to the bottom of burning issues we’ve been looking at for decades,” said Tracie Keesee, police research chief.
Denver police have been scrutinized after allegations of excessive force against minorities. The city agreed last month to pay $885,000 to a 16-year-old Latino who says a white officer in the department’s gang-unit repeatedly jumped on his back. Goff said Denver has been willing to be proactive to find solutions. “When I bring them the findings, they talk about it immediately and say, ‘OK, this is real. How do we go about fixing it?”‘ Goff plans to begin publishing his findings next year in academic journals. He is conducting brain scans of some officers and collecting samples, such as blood or saliva, to see how officers react to images that may detect hidden biases.