Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Kicks Off First-of-its-Kind Law Enforcement Training on Implicit Bias & Procedural Justice

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Contact: (415) 703-5837, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov

LOS ANGELES - In the wake of recent events in California and across the nation that highlight the need for building trust between law enforcement and the communities they are sworn to serve, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has taken several steps to strengthen this relationship. Today, Attorney General Harris announced the kickoff of the first Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (“POST”) certified law enforcement training on both procedural justice and implicit bias, the first of its kind in the country.

The first of two course dates will be held today at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and the second will be held on Thursday, November 19 at the California Highway Patrol in Sacramento. 

“In January, I began a dialogue with leaders of the California law enforcement community about strengthening the relationship of trust between law enforcement and the communities we are sworn to serve,” said Attorney General Harris.  “Throughout this dialogue, a theme has emerged regarding the need to continue to bring best-in-class training to law enforcement across our state.  Today, we are proud to announce that the California Department of Justice is offering the first POST certified course in the nation to combine the concepts of procedural justice and implicit bias.  This course is the result of a true collaboration with law enforcement, community partners and academics to bring evidence-based concepts into practice.”

The training course, titled “Principled Policing:  Procedural Justice and Implicit Bias” is the result of a collaborative partnership between the California Department of Justice, the Commission on Peace Officers Standards and Training, the Stockton and Oakland Police Departments, Stanford University and the California Partnership for Safe Communities.

“On behalf of POST, we are proud to join Attorney General Harris in offering this innovative course on Principled Policing,” said Bob Stresak, Executive Director of POST.  “The high enrollment in this course is a testament to California's law enforcement leaders recognizing that California's communities deserve the highest levels of professional service and that they are committed to making every effort to accomplish this goal.”

Specifically, the procedural justice and implicit bias training will consist of six areas that focus on policing approaches that emphasize respect, listening, neutrality and trust, while recognizing and addressing implicit biases that can be barriers to these approaches.  As a result, the training will work to create a broader awareness of both procedural justice and implicit bias in order to build trust and improve public and officer safety.

“We are pleased to have contributed to this new, research-based training,” said Stanford Professor Jennifer Eberhardt. “Our aim is to improve the ability of law enforcement executives across the state to recognize and address common implicit biases – biases that can be barriers to neutral policing.”

“The experience of police departments across the country, backed up by extensive research, is that procedural justice interventions are among the most effective tools available to police for strengthening trust and communication with communities,” said Stewart Wakeling, Executive Director of the California Partnership for Safer Communities.  “We have worked with the Stockton and Oakland Police Departments, with community leaders and officers as key partners, to bring procedural justice training to their officers, and are excited to add Implicit Bias to the curriculum and make it available to agencies statewide.”

The course will total eight hours of training and participants will receive a certificate and be required to complete a pre- and post- survey of the course.  Stanford University will be compiling the survey results to conduct an evaluation of the course. More than 90 applicants from 30 agencies applied for the course.

“I commend Attorney General Harris and these partners for playing a leadership role in advancing 21st Century Policing at the state level.  The President’s Task Force specifically identifies procedural justice and addressing implicit bias as cornerstones of 21st Century Policing.  General Harris is leading the nation in her support for law enforcement agencies across California to understand and apply these concepts,” said Tracey Meares, Walton Hale Hamilton Professor at Yale Law School and Member of President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The following law enforcement agencies have enrolled in the first courses: 

  • Berkeley Police Department
  • California Department of Justice
  • California Highway Patrol
  • El Cerrito Police Department
  • Elk Grove Police Department
  • Fremont Police Department
  • Fresno Police Department
  • Indio Police Department
  • Lassen County Sheriff’s Department
  • Long Beach Police Department
  • Los Angeles Airport Police Department
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
  • Los Angeles Police Department
  • Modesto Police Department
  • Newport Beach Police Department
  • Orange County Sheriff’s Department
  • Oxnard Police Department
  • Rancho Cordova Police Department
  • Richmond Police Department
  • Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department
  • Sacramento Police Department
  • San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department
  • San Diego County District Attorney’s Office
  • San Diego Police Department
  • San Francisco Police Department
  • San Jose Police Department
  • Simi Valley Police Department
  • Ventura Police Department

POST was formed by the California State Legislature to enforce minimum training and selection standards in order to increase the professionalism of California law enforcement.  

This training was developed as part of the California Department of Justice’s 90-Day Review of its own special agent training programs on implicit bias and use of force which were announced in April 2015.

Since January 2015, Attorney General Harris has taken several steps to strengthen the trust between law enforcement and California communities.  These actions include:

  • Directing the Department of Justice’s Division of Law Enforcement to conduct a 90-Day Review of its special agent trainings on implicit bias and use of force.
  • Instituting a body camera policy for all DOJ special agent personnel conducting field operations.
  • Convening law enforcement, youth and community organizations.
  • Creating the 21st Century Policing Working Group to foster discussion regarding implicit bias and building community trust.
  • Launching OpenJustice, a first-of-its-kind criminal justice open data initiative that will release unprecedented data while being interactive and easy to use.  The tool spotlights key criminal justice indicators and embraces transparency in the criminal justice system to strengthen trust, enhance government accountability, and inform public policy.
  • Creating a POST Certified Training on Implicit Bias and Procedural Justice

Last month, Attorney General Harris launched OpenJustice, a first-of-its-kind criminal justice open data initiative that will release unprecedented data while being interactive and easy to use.  The tool consists of two components: a Dashboard that spotlights key criminal justice indicators with user-friendly visualization tools and an Open Data Portal that publishes raw data from the California Department of Justice’s statewide repository of criminal justice datasets.  OpenJustice (openjustice.doj.ca.gov) embraces transparency in the criminal justice system to strengthen trust, enhance government accountability, and inform public policy.

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