SUNY sponsors “fair and impartial policing” training for university police

UB's Chris Bartolomei (middle row, second from left in blue shirt) is pictured with other SUNY police offers who attended the training session in Syracuse this week.

Twenty-four ‘trainers’ to be core of statewide anti-bias initiative

Release Date: January 14, 2016

“SUNY is a leader, the first university system to offer this type of training statewide to our campuses.”
Gerald W. Schoenle Jr., chief of University Police
University at Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. — University at Buffalo Assistant Chief of Police Chris J. Bartolomei took part in State University of New York-sponsored training this week in Syracuse designed to “train the trainer” in “fair and impartial” policing that addresses issues of bias in law enforcement.

Bartolomei was one of 24 police trainers from SUNY campuses to complete what organizers call “intense biased police training.” The trainers eventually will lead classes for all 600 SUNY police officers throughout the system on “a new way of thinking” about biased policing. Bartolomei will be one of the designated trainers for the Buffalo area.

“This is currently the best-known training available for law enforcement in bias-related issues,” says Gerald W. Schoenle Jr., chief of UB Police and president of the SUNY Police Chiefs Association.

“SUNY is a leader, the first university system to offer this type of training statewide to our campuses.”

The training is based on “the science of bias,” Schoenle says, which shows biased policing is not, as some believe, due to widespread racism in policing.

Science tells us that even well-intentioned humans — and thus officers — manifest biases that can impact their perceptions and behavior, he says. These biases can manifest below consciousness, and the training addresses this.

The comprehensive program covers such topics as recruitment/hiring, agency policy, training, leadership supervision and accountability, assessing institutional practices and policies, outreach to diverse communities and measurement. The training has been recommended by the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

“The training is so popular,” Schoenle says, “organizers are booking training dates two years out.”

This week’s SUNY-sponsored training session, which lasted two-and-a-half-days, included university police personnel from all ranks throughout the system.

This latest effort to build trust and strengthen the relationship between University Police and the campus communities they serve will be an integral part of SUNY’s community-policing philosophy, Schoenle says.

Subsequent training sessions will focus on educating University Police officers, supervisors, investigators and police executives in integrating these concepts into SUNY police’s day-to-day practices.

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