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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Baltimore Cops Studying Plato and James Baldwin

David Dagan
The Atlantic
Originally posted November 25, 2017

Here is an excerpt:

Gillespie is trained to teach nuts-and-bolts courses on terrorism response, extremism, and gangs. But since the unrest of 2015, humanities have occupied the bulk of his time. The strategy is unusual in police training. “I’ve been doing this a long time and I’ve never heard of an instructor using this type of approach,” said William Terrill, a criminal-justice professor at Arizona State University who studies police culture.

But he nevertheless understands the general theory behind it. He’s authored studies showing that officers with higher education are less likely to use force than colleagues who have not been to college. The reasons why are unclear, Terrill said, but it’s possible that exposure to unfamiliar ideas and diverse people have an effect on officer behavior. Gillespie’s classes seem to offer a complement to the typical instruction. Most of it “is mechanical in nature,” Terrill said. “It’s kind of this step-by-step, instructional booklet.”

Officers learn how to properly approach a car, say, but they are rarely given tools to imagine the circumstances of the person in the driver’s seat.

The article is here.