Local Law Enforcement agencies learn more about Cultural Competency
CLEVELAND, Tenn (WDEF) – Police officers from both the Chattanooga Police Department and the Cleveland police department sat down inside a classroom to learn more about cultural competency for law enforcement and how they can grow with our ever changing communities.
To help meet the critical need of increasing diversity and cross-cultural competency, the Law Enforcement Innovation Center (LEIC) and The University of Tennessee have developed a Cross-Cultural Competency for Law Enforcement program to help them better serve our community.
“The more you know the more you can help people. Having this knowledge of cultural diversity – opens your mind up a lot more and kind of brings you to a little more sensitivity with what different cultures may be dealing with or going through at a particular time and moment,” says Sgt. Ernest Craw, Chattanooga Police Department.
Officials say that the program addresses how to change with an expanding community and how to reduce biased-based policing.
“I’ve been doing this job for 15 years and just like everything else our culture, our population, and our community has changed so much. It’s about adapting to the city. It’s grown in size. Laws have changed. We have new technology and new issues that we didn’t have 15 years ago. If I relied on my training from 15 years ago I’d be way behind so I have to continue to change and open interactions and communications with different cultures. As the population changes-we have to adjust and change as well,” says Jennifer Samples, Community Officer, Cleveland Police Department.
Police officers say it’s important to always be willing to learn- it’s even more important to bridge the gap between law enforcement and community members.
“You can always bring something back to your department and with working in community outreach To be able to reach different sectors of the community that has different cultures and different races in order to know how to deal with and work within that,” says Sgt. Craw.
Once finished with the course officers will take the knowledge they have gained and spread it through their departments.