Keene State Holocaust and Genocide Experts Develop Police Training with Partners
Keene State College Holocaust and genocide experts are partnering with the Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities in New York City, and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, to develop online coursework for police training titled “Promoting and Protecting Civil and Human Rights.”
The curriculum is being developed in response to a pattern of police violence in the U.S., particularly impacting Black Americans, which has stirred a movement across the world calling for racial justice and police reform. The online training will be provided to police departmental leadership in a six-week course, and another version of the training will be provided to rank-and-file police officers in a two-week course. Content matter includes the history of policing in the U.S., the role of citizen review boards and police reform, policing in traumatized communities, and unpacking implicit bias in policing.
In consultation with content experts from around the world, the courses were developed by Dr. James Waller, the Cohen Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College. According to Dr. Waller, “This summer of pervasive police violence across the United States has, once again, brought significant attention to the need for police reform in the country. There is an urgent need to reexamine the structures and systems of policing that have, for far too long, not protected and served the marginalized populations in the United States that are most in need of protection and service. If we cannot fulfill the constitutional promise of equal protection under the law, communities’ trust in the police, the rule of law, and, even, democracy, will continue to erode.”
In addition to Dr. Waller’s course development role, the new director of the Cohen Center at Keene State, Peter McBride, also contributed a module on policing in traumatized communities. Beginning September 14 and continuing over the course of the next year, 24 iterations of both courses will be offered for the rank-and-file officers and departmental leadership of the Atlanta Police Department. At the end of that time, every member of the Atlanta PD will have taken one of these courses. Given the early widespread enthusiasm for this program, the Auschwitz Institute and National Center for Civil and Human Rights already are in negotiation with other large police departments around the country for future offerings of these courses.