The planned presentations were often interesting but the things I found most valuable about the course were the chance to meet and interact with a number of officers and the openness with which they addressed my questions. Many of them gave us their e-mail addresses and invited contact if we had further questions.
I had a little notebook with me and jotted down questions as they came to me. Some examples:
PDF - Debour Levels
Another piece that stands out for me was the discussions around fear and adrenaline in police work. Almost all of the officers mentioned fear at least once. I got to see just a small example of that during my ride along when a large, loud dog came rushing up as the officer approached to serve a warrant. The officer’s heart was pounding when he got back in the car and he mentioned that if he were to receive a call now he would already have adrenaline in his system. This is their reality. Making good choices in stressful situations is a part of police training. They do reality-based scenarios to try to prepare officers to think clearly under stress and fear. At the same time, there are some automatic responses that are taught. This raised a flag for me. Last summer I attended a Webinar on the topic of implicit bias – the kind of bias that is below the level of conscious awareness. This kind of bias exists in all of us. So – fear plus adrenaline plus automatic response plus implicit bias is a terrible equation.
Chief Barber and Officer Williamson had attended the Webinar too. At the final session of the CPA I asked the Chief if he thought that implicit bias training should be part of police training. He agreed that it is important and should be included. Mental star: follow up on this.