“I believe providing this training in the history of policing for Missouri officers can help create a better understanding of some of the underlying reasons for conflict and distrust that can exist between law enforcement and minority communities and can help create better relations going forward,” said commissioner and Lincoln University Police Chief Gary Hill.
Hill served on the subcommittee tasked with studying the topic.
The new two-hour block of instruction will educate recruits on the history of minority policing from the nation’s founding through today. The curriculum is in development and will be taught by all 20 Missouri police academies within six months of being finalized.
“This is an important issue and a good addition to our training curriculum that I believe will benefit all of us,” Jefferson County Sheriff Dave Marshak, who also served on the subcommittee, said. “The more voices and perspectives that we’re exposed to, the greater the potential for trust and reconciliation.”
State Rep. Shamed Dogan praised the move, thanking Marshak for his efforts on social media.
Thank you @SheriffMarshak for your leadership on this! Look forward to continuing to work with law enforcement on reforms that will increase public safety and public trust in law enforcement. https://t.co/YZ0zcH8JfY
— Shamed Dogan (@Dogan4Rep) December 16, 2020
The new requirement was suggested by members of the commission based on the results of a survey administered to law enforcement and the public over the summer. The survey sought feedback on state policies following the civil unrest sparked by officer-involved shootings of Black people across the country.
Earlier this year, the POST commission voted to require annual de-escalation and implicit bias training for Missouri law enforcement as part of their yearly requirement of 24 hours of education and training as a result of the same survey.
The commission also approved Lincoln University’s request to develop an in-house police academy earlier this month, making it the first historically Black college and university (HBCU) in the country to do so. The academy was granted its basic training license by Gov. Mike Parson Tuesday. Hill will serve as director of the academy when classes begin next year.
The POST Commission is tasked with establishing the core curriculum for Missouri’s basic training academies, definitions, rules, and regulations for the overall program and continuing education of officers. It also serves as an advisory group for the Department of Public Safety (DPS) director.