Local law enforcement agencies undergo special ‘bias’ training

JACKSON, Wyo. — As law enforcement agencies come under closer scrutiny nationwide, as well as talks of potentially retooling the local Jackson Police Department and Teton County Sheriff’s Office, the police department today announced a recently completed training session.

On September 15, the Town of Jackson Police Department hosted a training session entitled “Understanding Implicit Bias.”

The course was taught by Michael “Bret” Hood from 21st Century Learning & Consulting. Hood served as an FBI special agent for 25 years. He is a financial crimes, ethics, money laundering, and leadership expert who was chosen to be an adviser when the FBI created its executive leadership development programs.

Hood is also a leadership instructor at the FBI’s National Academy, a 10-week college program for law enforcement executive from all over the world.

The contents of the course included many topics including arguments on why experience can lead to more implicit biases, an assessment of how implicit bias can affect decision-making, explaining the effects of power and authority as it relates to implicit bias, definitions of illusory superiority and emotional intelligence, and a discussion of how emotional intelligence can assist in overcoming other people’s implicit biases.

Case studies were presented that identified ways implicit bias can affect the law enforcement professional’s behavior and ways to evaluate how implicit biases facilitate false confessions and erroneous convictions. Other topics included defining confirmation basis and how it relates to officer behavior.

The objective of the course was to give personnel effective tools to mitigate the effects of implicit bias. When officers learn how to interrupt their implicit biases it should help to ensure that they remain as objective as possible when engaging with others, conducting investigations, and reporting findings.

Agencies and departments that attended this training included the Jackson Police Department, Teton County Sheriff’s Office, Grand Teton National Park, Teton County and Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Town of Jackson facilities, Town of Jackson administration, Town of Jackson public works, as well as the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole and other community members at large.

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