For many decades, and refreshed six years ago, MDC’s renowned School of Justice, Public Safety & Law Studies has been working to shift the paradigm of law enforcement from one of deterrence through effectiveness to one of increasing legitimacy through procedural justice. This is being accomplished by imbuing Procedural Justice throughout all training and curriculum.
Procedural Justice has four pillars: give people a voice, treat people fairly, impartiality and transparency. Acting in the field from this perspective increases legitimacy and a greater chance of cooperation. To facilitate this approach and mindset for students and cadets, the School brought in a firm for teaching Fair and Impartial Policing to facilitate a train the trainer program. The program was then included in the Basic law Enforcement (BLE) curriculum. Additionally, the School created a de-escalation curriculum. Once the three programs were completed, the School formalized it in a class titled “Community Safety Course” and added it to the beginning of the BLE academy. The trainees have to apply and demonstrate proficiency in the competencies of Legitimacy & Procedural Justice, De-escalation & Fair & Impartial Policing in all the blocks of instruction, thereafter.
All cadets and students are also taken to the Black Police Precinct Museum in Overtown. The purpose of the trip is to demonstrate that it was not long ago that officers and members of the community of color were treated differently. In addition, all students and cadets participate in annual bookbag, school supply and bicycle distributions in Liberty City giving all trainees the opportunity to interact with community members.
Procedural Justice & Legitimacy and Fair & Impartial Policing has also been added to the 40-hour mandatory training requirement for officers, along with including it in the 192-hour Executive Training program created for police departments in the region and beyond. In fact, faculty and leadership from the School regularly travel abroad to provide training to police departments in Latin America and the Caribbean.
MDC’s School of Justice, Public Safety & Law Studies has also added a mental health component to all Law Enforcement Professional Development programs. With the understanding that it is not only important for officers’ health, job related stress and the inability to cope with it can negatively affect decision making. Officers are also trained to deal with mental health conditions affecting members of the community.
“We join the many national voices, especially police chiefs, officers and public safety educators condemning the actions of the officers in George Floyd’s death. What occurred goes against every policy and procedure and anything taught at colleges and police academies across the nation,” said MDC’s Interim President Dr. Rolando Montoya. “The tireless work we do in education to build best practices, understanding, acceptance, inclusiveness and unity can never be abridged in any way, but, given what’s happened, expanded. Education remains the greatest instrument of positive change.”
Annually, MDC trains an average 1,000 active duty law enforcement officers and graduates an average 300 new recruits.
To inquire about departmental training needs, contact the Dean of the School of Justice, Public Safety & Law Studies, Dr. Raimundo “Ray” J. Socorro, at firstname.lastname@example.org.