Fair & Impartial Policing

Police – First-line Supervisors

Training Programs

Police – First-line Supervisors

(8 hours, 30 attendees)

The US Department of Justice funded the development of a curriculum for first-line supervisors that reflects the Fair & Impartial Policing perspective. Identifying the appropriate supervisory response to biased policing can be challenging. Not only is biased behavior very difficult to prove through the traditional complaint review system but, for the officers whose biased behavior is not intentional or malicious, “disciplinary” action would be inappropriate. Since, in many instances, there will only be “indications” and not “proof,” it will be important to convey when and how supervisors can intervene to stop what appears to be inappropriate conduct while keeping in mind the ambiguous nature of the evidence as well as the sensitive nature of the issue.

First-line supervisors who have participated in the training report that they now have a new perspective for thinking about how bias (not just racial bias) might manifest in policing. The comments indicate that they emerge believing (some expressing surprise) that biased behavior can be unintentional and can manifest even in well-intentioned subordinates. Overwhelmingly, the participants report that they will be able to apply the information and skills from the police training courses into their daily job as a supervisor. They report acquiring new tools for identifying when bias might be manifesting in their supervisees and new tools for intervening when they have concerns about subordinate behavior.

This curriculum instructs trainees in how to supervise to promote fair & impartial policing. The 8-hour training:

  • Helps supervisors identify subordinates who may be acting in a biased manner–including those well-meaning officers whose biased behavior may not be consciously produced;
  • Provides guidance to supervisors on how they should respond to officers who exhibit biased policing behaviors;
  • Challenges supervisors to think about how bias might manifest in their own behavior; and
  • Provides guidance on how to speak about bias to individuals (e.g., officers, individual community members) and groups/media.