Maine police agencies take steps to erase implicit bias in new training program

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 10:37 PM EDT
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Police departments in Maine are taking steps to erase implicit bias in the wake of several Black Lives Matter protests in Maine and across the country.

In a press conference Tuesday morning at the Saco Police Department, Chief Jack Clements announced a new partnership with the Maine Public Safety Commission to have staff complete bias awareness training through a program called Fair and Impartial Policing. The program will also connect officers in other agencies to the training.

The department will also allocate funding to a new community resource officer program, giving residents a stake in the mission of local law enforcement.

"(Participants) may be just key members in the community that want to be involved," said Public Safety Commissioner Michael Sauschuck. "I think that's going to change from community to community as these folks are asked to participate. And we know there's a lot of great people out there that are currently engaged and want to continue to be."

The programs are based on the "science" of bias and how bias manifests itself in day-to-day policing so that officers can learn skills on how to be impartial.