What Has Phoenix Police Done For Diversity Since End Of 'Cultural Consciousness' Training?

By Naomi Gingold
Published: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 3:34pm
Updated: Monday, April 3, 2017 - 12:43pm

In 2015, the Phoenix Police Department started doing an extra training on what they deemed "cultural consciousness.”  This was in the wake of rising tension and scrutiny all over the country over police officer’s use of force toward people of color.

In the midst of that training, the consultant leading it canceled the contract. He did it under pressure, after it emerged that he, Dr. Matthew Whitaker, also a professor at ASU, had plagiarized parts of his academic works,

There are three key words that the Phoenix Police Department uses to talk about issues of diversity and community engagement: procedural justice, police legitimacy, and cultural competency.

And as Sgt. Derek Elmore who helps lead training programs for the Phoenix PD explains. “You don’t come out and tell an officer, 'hey we’re going to make you cultural competent.' We come and out and say 'hey, look at these things from this perspective. If that was your family, how would you want them to be treated?'” Elmore said.

The words race and color are not directly used.

When Whitaker’s program ended, the department adopted a program called Blue Courage that they say, was meant to address some of the issues they hoped would be addressed in Whitaker’s training.

Just this month, the department started their new training module, with new and updated educational programs around cultural competence.

KJZZ’s Naomi Gingold speaks to Marchelle Franklin, director of Community Affairs, and Elmore about what the Phoenix Police Department has done to address diversity and race relations since Whitaker’s program ended and how they are addressing "cultural competence" today.

If you like this story, Donate Now!