Huntsville Police to receive implicit bias training starting next month

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Huntsville Police will receive Implicit Bias Training starting in April. The training is aimed at building trust and understanding, working together to better protect the community.

Mayor Tommy Battle spoke about the initiative at an activism event with faith leaders from Faith In Action and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at Fellowship Presbyterian Church in Huntsville Sunday evening.

Faith In Action Alabama has been calling for Huntsville Police to budget for the training for months. But Mayor Battle said the department was already planning to introduce this training to the force.

"Our officers have been working on it for quite a while," he said after speaking to the group. "Everybody has a bias. So this is just a way to make sure we recognize bias, look at them, and help with just a little bit of training."

Mayor Battle said the bias training will begin on April 19. It will start with new recruits, and then become part of the officers' continuous education.

"We do this on a constant basis. With Huntsville Police, we have an enormous amount of training each year." He added, "It's very important. This is one of those things that you work together as a community. You make sure that you recognize community needs, community wants, and what is necessary for the community."

Local faith and community leaders said they believe such training "is integral to ensuring community safety, and to build greater trust between law enforcement and community members."

The groups also called on Alabama's elected officials to eliminate taxes on grocery and household items, and also to fund skill-trade schools and programs. They said they worry taxes on these goods affects people who are already vulnerable.

"My hat is off to officers who are looking at how to be better officers in this community," Mayor Battle stated.

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