Last week was a difficult one for American citizens and for our law enforcement community. After taking some time to reflect on the situation, I wanted to address some concerns voiced by people in our area.
First, thank you for the support you have sent our way. I want to acknowledge the loss of the Dallas, Texas police officers who were killed in the line of duty. Our thoughts and prayers are with them, their families, and their community.
My fear is there is a divide growing ever larger between underrepresented populations and law enforcement. As a law enforcement leader, I want our deputies to be safe and go home every night without the fear of being attacked or killed. As a citizen who is a son, father, and husband, I want people of all diverse populations to feel a sense of safety and acceptance in their own communities.
At the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office, we have implemented several training programs and are working on more to engage our underrepresented populations and community as a whole. This includes training on Implicit Bias, Fair and Impartial Policing, Police Legitimacy and Procedural Justice, Policing the LGBTQ Community, Latino Project, and Racial and Bias-Based Profiling. Here is a short description of each one:
Implicit Bias Training - Implicit biases are attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner. The training introduces concepts on how implicit biases can impact the perception and behavior of officers.
Fair and Impartial Policing – This training program applies the modern science of bias to policing. It trains officers on the effect of implicit bias and gives them the information and skills they need to reduce and manage their biases.
Police Legitimacy and Procedural Justice – This training covers the concept of police legitimacy, which is the process by which the public gives authority to police, through support and cooperation, to exercise authority in maintaining social order, managing conflicts, and solving problems in the community. The training also discusses procedures used by police officers by which citizens are treated fairly and with proper respect as human beings.
Policing the LGBTQ Community – The objectives in this training covered key concepts to develop a greater understanding of the LGBTQ communities and to recognize common forms of interrelated oppression that impact that community. The training offers policing strategies and best practices for working with the LGBTQ communities.
The Latino Project – This project was a partnership with OHSU School of Nursing students to assess deputies’ abilities and resources to serve the Latino community.
Racial and Bias Based Profiling – This training defines racial profiling and helps officers avoid discrimination.
In light of recent events, many citizens and law enforcement professionals feel they are under attack. As your Sheriff, I will work to protect our deputies from harm, and to prepare them to relate with all citizens in a respectful manner. We do not have to choose one or the other; these two concepts can – and should – both be priorities for our community.
Thank you for your support.
Sheriff Corey Falls