Legislation requiring State, county, municipal, and campus law enforcement agencies to provide implicit bias training was approved by the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee Monday.
Under the bill (A-3641), the training is to include understanding implicit bias and employing strategies to eliminate unconscious biases that shape behavior and produce disparate treatment of individuals based on their race, ethnicity, religious belief, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.
Current law requires the Department of Law and Public Safety (DLPS) to develop or identify uniform cultural diversity training course materials, which may be utilized by police departments. This bill requires the DLPS to include bias training in these training materials and requires all law enforcement agencies to provide cultural diversity and implicit bias training once every five years.
Assembly members Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, Carol Murphy and Britnee Timberlake issued the following statement upon the passage of this legislation:
“Implicit bias is the automatic association people make between groups of people and stereotypes about those groups. It has been shown to have significant influence on the outcomes of interactions between police and residents. Implicit bias can be expressed in relation to non-racial factors, including gender, age, religion, or sexual orientation and not only racial incidences.
“If there is any profession that cannot afford to have or show bias or discrimination in the act of doing their jobs, it’s law enforcement. The rise in police incidences resulting in death of men and women of color has sounded an alarm in communities throughout the nation. We must now focus on providing law enforcement agencies with the tools needed to train the officers to acknowledge implicit bias reactions and instead, keep ad impart compassion in their work in the diverse communities they serve.”