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Baldwin and Hoague Make the Grade as Trainers in Fair and Impartial Policing

UPD inspector and officer to teach methods of overcoming bias in order to build relationships with campus communities

Several of the SUNY police officials who attended “Fair and Impartial Policing” training in Buffalo. UAlbany UPD representatives were Jennifer Baldwin, middle row, third from right, and Lucas Hoague, top row, second from right.   

ALBANY, NY (January 20, 2016) — Many people have biases, but police officers have a vital responsibility to check them in order to best serve their communities.

This was the message that 24 police officials from SUNY campuses, including two from UAlbany, received at the “Fair and Impartial Policing” training held in Buffalo on Jan. 12-14. These trainees now become trainers, and will transmit this emerging concept in law enforcement to other police officers throughout the region.

“We are all human and everyone has a bias in one way or another,” said University Police Department (UPD) Inspector Jennifer Baldwin, who took the course along with Officer Lucas Hoague. “What is important is learning the ability to recognize when we are assessing a situation or behaving as a result of a bias, and then adjusting accordingly.”

The training, which was strongly endorsed by UPD Chief of Police Frank Wiley, is based on “the science of bias,” which indicates that biased policing is not, as some believe, due to widespread racism in policing.

“The training was an eye opening and invaluable experience,” said Baldwin, who joined UPD in 2010 and rose to Inspector for Administration in June 2014. “Bias comes in all forms; many of which are completely inadvertent and are not always of negative connotation as previously believed.” Yet, she stressed, biases must be overcome if a university police department is committed to building trust and strengthening the relationship between itself and the campus community.

“In the current climate, training police officers to perform their duties constitutionally and in a procedural just way is imperative,” she said. “This training, however, incorporates the fact that police officers are human too. I was extremely impressed. This will be a valuable training for establishing best practices in 21st Century policing.”

The attendees in Buffalo will form a core group to take Fair and Impartial Policing training to all police departments in the State University system. Inspector Baldwin and Officer Hoague will first deliver instruction to their colleagues at UPD, and then, along with a few other trained instructors, to SUNY colleagues in the Eastern NY Region. They also will be training new and veteran officers at the Zone 5 Regional Law Enforcement Academy in Schenectady, which serves a 10-county region. The Albany Police Department has also requested Fair and Impartial Policing training for its staff.

The training, which is delineated into “Patrol/Recruit” and “Supervisor” curricula, is each approximately eight hours long and designed to be presented using a “team teach” approach.

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