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DOJ Orders Mandatory Bias Training for Agents, Attorneys

The Department of Justice is implementing a mandatory training to help federal agents prevent unconscious bias from affecting their decisions as law enforcement officers.

Announced Monday, DOJ plans to put 33,000 federal agents and prosecutors through the training to bring it up to speed with local police departments across the country.

Many police departments, most notably those in Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York City and New Orleans already implemented similar training after several unarmed black men were shot by white police officers last year.

Subsequent protests blamed police bias for unnecessary use of force on minorities.

DOJ received criticism for not developing its own policies to combat bias after recommending local police do so at the direction of a task force created by President Barack Obama after riots in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri, reports Reuters.

The Department’s Deputy Attorney General, Sally Yates, said in a memo to employees the program targets "implicit biases" - subtle, unconscious stereotypes or characterizations nearly everyone makes about certain groups of people.

"But implicit bias also presents unique challenges to effective law enforcement, because it can alter where investigators and prosecutors look for evidence and how they analyze it without their awareness or ability to compensate," Yates said in the memo.

The training is mandatory for agents and prosecutors across DOJ’s agencies which include the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Department of Homeland Security employees, including its 60,000 border patrol officers and agents, are not included in the order.

Posted in General News

Tags: training, race discrimination, Justice Department, Department of Justice

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