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D.C. Police Department Adds New Training Requirement on Black History

September 28, 2012 (Washington, DC) (Photo by Don Baxter/Media Images International)

The Washington D.C. Police Department added a new training requirement for their officers to help foster a better bond between the city’s residents and officers.

In recent years, the crime rate has gone down but there’s still work to be done to strengthen the relationship between cops and residents in D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser announced the new program at the African-American museum Friday, April 13. “We are committed to accountability, to strengthen the bonds of trust between MPD and our residents,” Bowser said.

D.C. police and the University of the District of Columbia Community College worked together to develop the program which includes a three-hour lecture on Black history, a guided tour through the National Museum of African American History and Culture and a lesson on U Street where officers will learn about police brutality. Peter Newsham, D.C.’s police chief said, “The museum includes very honest and poignant stories of the role that policing played in some of the historical injustices in our country.”

Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum said, “If you’re going to be a police officer in Washington, you need to understand the history of the city, and race is a big part of that.”

There have already been about 80 officers already trained in the new program. Newsham hopes to get all 3,800 cops trained by the end of the year.

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