U.S. Department of Justice Adopts USF Professor’s Training Program
The goal of the training is to reduce law enforcement biases.
TAMPA – The U.S. Department of Justice said it will train all of its law enforcement agents to recognize their implicit biases using a program developed by a University of South Florida associate criminology professor.
Lorie Fridell’s program, Fair & Impartial Law Enforcement, will be used to help more than 23,000 DOJ employees recognize and address their often unconscious biases. Fridell,, a nationally recognized expert in biased policing, has already seen her program used by hundreds of local law enforcement agencies across the country.
According to the DOJ, in the coming weeks the training program will be rolled out to agents employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Drug Enforcement Administration; Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The first training session was held late last month at DOJ headquarters in Washington, DC. Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates and leadership from the four agencies receiving the training all attended.
“The science-based training program is designed to help people understand how implicit biases can impact their lives and work,” said Fridell, adding that social science has shown that everyone has biases. “It also helps participants make these discoveries in a blame-free environment, one that recognizes that even the most well-intentioned officers and agents can experience unconscious biases.”
According to Fridell, stereotypes associated with different groups of people can influence the interactions and decisions of those in law enforcement as they carry out their responsibilities. Fridell says these stereotypes may be based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, or other factors.
The Fair & Impartial Law Enforcement program designed for the federal agencies has separate versions for three categories of people – line personnel, supervisors and executive-level personnel. Fridell’s team was assisted in the development of the training by a curriculum design team comprised of individuals representing the four agencies that will receive the training.
“I have had officers tell me that this training has opened their eyes and made them think,” Fridell said. “It is something they say now is in the back of their minds every day.”
“Our officers are more effective and our communities are more secure when law enforcement has the tools and training they need to address today’s public safety challenges. At the Department of Justice, we are committed to ensuring that our own personnel are well trained in the core principles and best practices of community policing. Today’s announcement is an important step in our ongoing efforts to promote fairness, eliminate bias and build the stronger, safer, more just society that all Americans deserve,” said U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch in a press release announcing the training.
Fridell has had previous work funded by the DOJ; this funding was from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. Before coming to USF, she was the director of research at the Police Executive Research Forum. She is the author of several books and book chapters on the issue of bias in law enforcement.
University of South Florida | Lorie Fridell | Department of Justice | Law Enforcement Bias | TB Reporter
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