My husband is a cop. It was his dream from the time he was a little boy until the day he pinned the badge on.
And police officers are certainly not immune. Mahoney says his department works hard to identify the best applicants for the job and to keep on top of biases that could affect job performance.
Racially prejudiced views are problematic in any professional field, but perhaps none more so than law enforcement, where officers have the authority to detain, and are armed with deadly weapons.
Overt biases, such as racial profiling, and other forms of discrimination are illegal, but law enforcement agencies are now focusing on implicit biases in the hiring and ongoing training of officers.
As a standard practice, Wisconsin law enforcement agencies evaluate new hires for potential prejudices and incorporate cultural competency education as part of their training.
The screening process involves a psychological evaluation, done through a written test and a series of interviews, which help filter out candidates who show biased opinions or antisocial behavior. Diversity training is also a tool to remediate officers who have been disciplined for inappropriate racial comments.
But does the training actually help change implicit bias? For Myers, who completed his mandatory training only to be forced into retirement a few years later after making a similar mistake, the answer would appear to be no.
Mahoney acknowledges that the training can only go so far. The last time the department conducted bias and diversity training was two years ago. The Madison Police Department has also made efforts to incorporate implicit bias education into its regular in-service training.
But experts say it is difficult to say just how effective these efforts are. Unconscious biases, on the other hand, are more difficult to control for and can be influenced by whatever news articles or entertainment media an individual has recently consumed before being tested.
To make matters more confusing, Brauer cited a recent meta-analysis study conducted by graduate students in his department showing no correlation between implicit bias and behavior.
Diversity education and training for employees can be helpful, but only if top management also endorses and promotes the values, Brauer says. Among corporations in particular, reconceptualizing diversity acceptance as essential to achieving business goals has been shown to have a positive effect.
Still, Brauer says, the empirical evidence is lacking.
Thomas Snyder, who oversees training for the Madison Police Department, says his agency goes above and beyond state-mandated requirements for cultural competency and relational skills training. But the department does not collect data to measure the outcomes, and Madison has increasingly drawn scrutiny for the disproportinate numbers of African Americans in the criminal justice system.
Devine used stereotype replacement exercises and counter-stereotypic imaging techniques to encourage police officers to think about African Americans who defy negative stereotypes.
Overcoming implicit bias takes a two-pronged approach, Devine says.
But through her research, she found that in some instances Madison police officers actually showed less bias than those not in law enforcement. The police officers in the study did not show the same bias — a factor Devine credits to their training.Stereotypes: Negative Racial Stereotypes and Their Effect on Attitudes Toward African-Americans by Laura Green Virginia Commonwealth University.
As human beings, we naturally evaluate everything we come in contact with. We especially try to gain insight and . Police say the widespread use of cameras combats negative stereotypes of police, protects officers from being falsely accused of misconduct, and improves community relations.
I was very concerned when I first heard those remarks because I believe it reinforces a very negative stereotype of police that we've been trying to overcome, and that is that police use excessive. Foreign audiences associate American media with big budget spectacle.
Consider the fact that Hollywood is the only place in the world where millions of dollars are used to make films and TV shows about sensational topics. In social psychology, a stereotype is an over-generalized belief about a particular category of people.
Stereotypes are generalized because one assumes that the stereotype is true for each individual person in the category. While such generalizations may be useful when making quick decisions, they may be erroneous when applied to particular individuals.
“It makes me want to get off social media because all you see is the negative,” says Carrie MagLang, a Norfolk Police Officer.