MSU Police and Public Safety prioritizes implicit bias training for all employees
January 20, 2022
EAST LANSING, Mich. – The MSU Police and Public Safety continues to work toward fostering an inclusive and welcoming campus community for all by implementing implicit bias training to help train not only officers, but all staff within the department.
Department employees have attended one of three trainings throughout the month of January. Topics discussed include how to recognize personal biases, how to overcome them, and how to work toward understanding other peoples’ perspectives.
Sergeant Kim Parviainen of the Community Engagement Bureau attended one of the training sessions on Jan. 18.
“It is important that law enforcement receive implicit bias training because biases are an inevitable result of growing up in a society where stereotypes are part of almost every aspect of day-to-day life,” said Parviainen. “In even the most well-intentioned officers, biases can still exist.”
Darnell Blackburn, the Founder/CEO of PRAT International LLC, led this week’s training. Blackburn served in law enforcement for 27 years, beginning his career as a Michigan State University police officer. He is also the founder of the “Be the Change” initiative in an effort to encourage more diversity within the law enforcement community.
“It makes a tremendous difference because without implicit bias training, law enforcement communities continue to operate as status quo and people often feel marginalized and mistreated by police agencies,” said Blackburn. “Conducting this type of training helps people to look from a point of view other than their own.”
Parviainen believes the training has helped her grow and be more successful in her role.
“Mr. Blackburn’s seminar is not the first seminar we have hosted for officers and I’m grateful for the investment the department has placed on building an inclusive community,” said Parviainen.
Captain Florene McGlothian-Taylor, who specializes in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives for the MSU Police and Public Safety, says the department has been implementing trainings such as these since 2015. She says the department is also dedicating more officers to work in community engagement.
“I think it’s important especially for our community that we work with because our officers need to be familiar with our community at-large,” said McGlothian-Taylor. “If we know what our biases are, then when we make our traffic stops or when we approach individuals and talk to people, we can try to see it through their lens.”
The third and final training of this series takes place on Jan. 25. McGlothian-Taylor says there are many more plans to implement inclusion initiatives for officers in the future.
Dana Whyte, Spokesperson, MSU Police and Public Safety