UI Police invites public to attend implicit-bias training next week
The University of Iowa Police Department wants to make sure its officers aren't biased and they're not just talking about race.
University Police say, since 2016, they've made 722 arrests. While not all of the arrests were students, a breakdown of those numbers lines up fairly evenly with the University's demographics. 568 of people arrested were white, or about 79 percent. About 82 percent of the University's population is white. African Americans were another 136 arrests and 15 were Asian or American Indian.
Next Monday, police will be holding an implicit bias training class that will be open to the public. These types of classes are meant to teach officers about any biases they might have and not realize. It could be anything from somebody's age to what kind of car they drive; biases that could stop an officer from doing his or her job correctly.
Gabriella Blanchard-Manning is a patrol officer for the University of Iowa Police Department, a former army soldier and an instructor of the Fair and Impartial Policing initiative.
"We all have it," said Blanchard-Manning. "We're human, it doesn't mean you're a bad person but it's something that you need to be aware of."
Blanchard-Manning said she's glad this particular class will be open to the community.
"We want to have a safe space where people can have open dialogues," said Blanchard-Manning. "Somewhere people can talk about some of these more challenging, uncomfortable conversations and so that we're learning together to really bridge the gap on some of these biases."
She said after taking the class herself, it's opened her eyes.
"Situations where our negative bias can lead to tragic results as we've seen so this training is important because it helps us make decisions better based on facts and negate the impact of some of those stereotypes," said Blanchard-Manning.
At the end of the day, Blanchard-Manning said the training helps most to make the right decisions, especially in volatile situations.
"Personal and interpersonal skills, interactions with people, we can't do our jobs if we don't have those skills now," said Blanchard- Manning. "Collaboration is how we're going to make progress in these areas. We want to work with the community.
The class will take place from six to eight in conference room 2520D at the Old Capitol Mall.