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Norwalk Police, Community Leaders Address Bias In Training Program

Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik
Norwalk Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik Photo Credit: Casey Donahue, file

NORWALK, Conn. -- Members of the Norwalk police command staff as well as community leaders are taking part in training this week to learn about implicit bias and how to address it.

The training started Tuesday and will finish Wednesday. It is led by Lorie Fridell of Fair and Impartial Policing, a firm that works with law enforcement agencies and other community organizations to address how unconscious and implicit biases manifest themselves in police work. 

Members of the Norwalk Police Department underwent training on implicit bias back in March. Chief Thomas Kulhawik said that the officers who took part in those sessions will train the rest of the department this fall on what they learned. Kulhawik added that those who have already taken the training said it had an enormous value.

"Every one of them left the class saying it was one of the best trainings they had ever had. We're looking forward to getting this training out to all of our people," Kulhawik said.

The training taking place this week will include all the police lieutenants, the deputy chiefs, some sergeants, Mayor Harry Rilling, Common Council members Phaedrel Bowman and Travis Simms, the Rev. Lindsay Curtis, the Rev. Albert Ray Dancy, State Rep. Bruce Morris, Nabil Valencia of Latinos Unidos of Connecticut, and NAACP Vice President Brenda Penn Williams.

"Based on the other training it's very clear that regardless of who you are and how hard you try not to, everyone has implicit biases against something," Kulhawik said. He said that the purpose the training is to help people identify what biases they may unconsciously hold so that they can address them. 

Kulhawik said that the Norwalk Police Department voluntarily signed up for the training back in October as a way of being proactive. He hopes that the training can also help improve communication between the police and the community.

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