Citizens join police for Fair and Impartial Policing training

Command and Community session opens dialogue on challenging topics

November 16, 2016 - by Lt. Bob Vander Yacht

Bellingham (WA) On November 9th and 10th, the Bellingham Police Department, in partnership with Fair and Impartial Policing LLC (FIP), concluded a series of training sessions on the topic of fair and impartial policing.

This training began in March of 2016 when we hosted a regional “train the trainer” course in curriculum designed to help police personnel understand and identify the human condition known as “implicit bias,” and discuss ways to override such bias in an effort to promote police legitimacy, provide procedural justice and continue to enhance the organization’s overall mission of Committed to Community.  Trainers from Bellingham Police, along with several other regional departments, participated in three days of teaching from FIP instructors for the purpose of presenting the six-hour course to their own agencies.  All Bellingham Police commissioned personnel completed the training in April.

The November Command and Community sessions were attended by all BPD command staff, Mayor Linville, city council member Hammill and three members of our police Citizen Advisory Council.  Also participating were representatives from Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center, the faith-based community, Opportunity Council and the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center.

“The Fair and Impartial Policing training held with community members was an opportunity to experience and understand the training from the perspective of the Bellingham Police Department. More importantly, it was the beginning of some excellent dialog between BPD staff and people with different community perspectives and concerns. The conversations started here, if continued, can be a bridge-building between the police and citizens that could create a path forward toward a police force that is as pro-community and able to act without bias as possible”, says community member and training attendee Stephanie Kountouros.

While completing Fair and Impartial Policing training has become an industry “best practice,” and is one of the training objectives outlined in Obama’s May 2015 President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, the Bellingham Police had initiated a conversation with Fair and Impartial Policing, LLC in August of 2014 to facilitate the training in Bellingham.

This training is reflective of our organization’s commitment to provide our officers and support staff with the knowledge and tools that ensure quality, ethical police service to our community“, says Police Chief Cliff Cook.

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Media Contact

​Lt. Bob Vander Yacht
Bellingham Police Department PIO

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