Justice Department Training Police Chiefs on Bias and Officer Behavior

Timothy M. Phelps, Los Angeles Times, November 21, 2014

While the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has been investigating the shooting of Michael Brown and the practices of the Ferguson Police Department, a different agency at Justice has been providing training to local police and assessing their response to demonstrations.

The office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) recently held a two-day training session for top police commanders on how bias can affect officers’ behavior. It has sent police chiefs with experience in similar situations to Ferguson to help city and county law enforcement officials.

But much of the federal help has just gotten underway, and some of those involved are concerned there has not been enough time to make the changes that are necessary. {snip}

“Here we are right smack dab up against potential crisis No. 2 and they are just starting up the appropriate changes,” said Rick Myers, chief of police in Newport News, Va. “My heart goes out to them–it’s really a difficult situation.”


Myers, as the former interim police chief in Sanford, Fla., handled demonstrations after the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin. In Sanford the police had over a year after the shooting to train and prepare for the trial of George Zimmerman, who killed Martin and was acquitted of murder charges.

Myers was one of four police chiefs flown to Ferguson by the Justice Department weeks after Brown was killed. He met with the two top police officers in Ferguson and community and police leaders from St. Louis County and the city of St. Louis, he said.

“I will say it was very evident that the events had really taken a toll on the individuals involved,” Myers said. “Many of the police chiefs have suffered harassment and very disruptive behaviors that spilled over to their whole families.”


Ronald Davis, director of the COPS office at Justice, said in an interview that 27 top police commanders and community representatives spent two days in training sessions with experts brought in by Justice on Nov. 6-7.

Additional training sessions will be scheduled for rank-and-file police officers and then for police who will be taught how to train their fellow officers on bias issues, he said.

He said it was a “candid discussion” of bias and its impact that “was very well received.”

Asked if it would have been better to do the training earlier, Davis said that technical assistance started within days of the shooting and that his office was engaged in a long-term effort to achieve a cultural shift in the local departments and to “achieve commitments to systemic changes.” The program may last for two years, he said.



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  • MekongDelta69

    I don’t want the racist DOJ having anything to do with anything.

    They love all blacks and browns and HATE all Whites.

  • Dave4088

    You must take a very hard stance with afro-merican criminals or else they won’t respect you. Touchy, feely, gooey policing will only embolden them to commit more crimes and be more violent since any deterrent has been removed. It’s reaching the point where the law cannot be enforced against blacks and browns and if it is the police become the bad guys.

    • They only respect strength. Touchy, feely doesn’t work for them. They must be treated like a three-year old throwing a tantrum. PERIOD.

    • A Freespeechzone

      Moreover, the DOJ, media and courts support unprovoked violence perpetrated on Whites by minorities—whereby, if the true victim invokes self defense, they will be prosecuted.

      Face it, blacks want the right to ‘take it to Whitey’ without any accountability; it’s as simple as that.

  • Luca

    My dad was an MP during WW2. His training consisted of “Shoot first and ask questions later.” Unfortunately those days are gone.

  • dd121

    Who would have thought that Hoover’s FBI would have morphed into Holder-Obama’s Brown Shirts to defend blacks.

  • Alucard_the_last

    The best way to deal with the simians is napalm. Had this been used in the past, they would know that rioting and looting is NOT the way to go and we would have peaceful protests.

  • TL2014

    Everyone who has not had significant exposure to people of sub-Saharan descent, needs to be trained in advance. The average behavioral differences are just too significant and potentially too consequential.

  • none of your business

    I’m 72. I have been reading articles like this since 1966 after the blacks of San Francisco had an 6 day riot after the police killed a black kid who robbed a record store and shot and wounded an employee. He shot at the police as he ran out of the store. They shot back and he got what he deserved. But Lordy Lordy, what a caterwauling, weeping and wailing from the Hearst newspapers, the only ones in town.

  • MBlanc46

    When is the DoJ going to have training sessions for blacks to teach them not to attack cops?

  • Maximo Partagas

    I guess the training could be held at a local zoo in the primate section.

  • archer

    Robbing a store, walking in the middle of the road to attract attention, trying to disarm a police officer etc., if he wasn’t killed he should have been arrested for walking without a brain.

  • Jeff Traube

    Wonder if there will be a class offered in the ghetto to obey the law, show deference to police, don’t make things worse by resisting arrest – or even walk on the sidewalk . . .

  • R L Buds

    It’s racial bias for a white to think that a black who is attacking them or pulling a firearm (or a realistic replica) from their belt means them harm, got it.

    The only way to be un-biased is to let them continue their action until you see that they mean you no harm; you’ll probably be dead but at least you won’t be racist, just kidding you’ll still be racist if you’re white.

  • Yves Vannes

    This is a de facto admission that blacks are violent and are inherently so. Since they can’t be expected to follow the law and behave civilly the police now have to pull back and tolerate criminal behavior as normal and acceptable. This will only lower the standards even more. Soon it will be, “As long as no one is dead no one goes to jail.” This is the de facto attitude already at play in the hood. Apparently the greater society is now expected to follow suit.

  • Paleoconn

    The fact that these thugs are able to inflict so much violence before they end up getting shot encourages other thugs. They think to themselves ‘the cop is gonna do everything to avoid shooting me, and as long as I am better than Trayvon or Michael at disarming them, I will prevail.’ In the old days, cops shot without hesitation, and kinda kept the undertow in its place. Now they are enouraged by police hesitation and fear of lawsuits. They feel they have a chance. And they do, to wit the high number of cops who die at these thugs’ hands.