Fair and Impartial Policing Trainging Recap

ACCPD Fair and Impartial Police Training Observation

Written by: Mokah Johnson
Edited by: Greg Wagstaff

Athens-Clarke County Police Chief, R. Scott Freeman, met with members of the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement at a follow-up meeting to the July 10 #Black Lives Matter “Stop the Killing” Vigil held on the steps of City Hall.  Chief Freeman invited us to attend a four hour required training session for members of his Department entitled, Fair and Impartial Policing. Thus on Tuesday, July 25th, a few members of the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement and I  attended the training.  As an activist and leader of the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, I felt it was necessary for me to learn more about how officers are trained and their state of mind when on the job.  

Chief Freeman invited us to attend a four hour required training session for members of his Department entitled, Fair and Impartial Policing. Thus on Tuesday, July 25th, a few members of the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement and I  attended the training.  As an activist and leader of the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, I felt it was necessary for me to learn more about how officers are trained and their state of mind when on the job.  I must admit, as a Black Woman I had my reservations because past personal experiences convinced me that policing was rarely fair or impartial.  

The training was delivered by Senior Police Officer John Williams and was facilitated by Deputy Chief of Police Justin Gregory.  Officer Williams is an African American.  The premise of the training is that, as human beings, we are ALL biased, in one way or the other.  This does not mean that we are necessarily  ill-intentioned,  but that our perceptions are grounded in our own histories and influenced by media.  With the grave responsibilities police officers carry, they must learn to recognize and address these biases in order to do their jobs in a fair and impartial manner. Senior Officer Williams impressed upon the attendees that policing based on bias is “unsafe, ineffective and unjust.”  With effective training strategies that include Fair and Impartial Policing, periodic mental health evaluations, and positive interpersonal community interaction, I believe we can begin to build trust  and decrease systemic racism within our judicial system.  

After attending this FIPT session, I do believe that with effective training strategies that include Fair and Impartial Policing, periodic mental health evaluations, and positive interpersonal community interaction, we can begin to build trust  and decrease systemic racism within our judicial system.  

It is the responsibility of our citizens to not only be vigilant by reporting bad policing but to applaud the important work of our police as they put themselves in harms way to “Protect and Serve” our community.

We look forward to working with our exceptional police department in helping to build a stronger community together.

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