Nearly 70 Baltimore City and Morgan State Police Officers Participated in a Full Morning of Discussions and Exercises to Improve Police-Community Relations
Morgan State University’s School of Social Work (SSW) has launched its Cultural Competency Training for Baltimore City Police Officers, a bold new program designed to improve police-community relations and reduce the number of negative interactions between police officers and the public, thus beginning a new chapter in the history of the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD). Nearly 70 law enforcement officers representing both BPD and Morgan State University were on hand for a full morning “deep dive” into a number of issues, from public perceptions and attitudes to understanding generational communication barriers and opportunities.
“Our faculty in the School of Social Work is a highly prepared and trained group of clinicians, and we are very pleased to do all that we can to build bridges between neighborhoods and law enforcement,” said Dr. Anna McPhatter, dean of the School of Social Work. “Our goal is to increase the knowledge and skills of police officers that they may be able to use in their interactions with citizens. We want them to understand the uniqueness of the culture in our city and to accept and value Baltimore’s citizens in the same manner they would themselves or others.”
SSW faculty members Dr. Linda Darrell, Dr. Paul Archibald and Dr. Kevin Daniels presented the training, which was broken into different topic discussions, with assistance from social work students. Dr. McPhatter says teaching law enforcement officers how to communicate effectively with people who may be racially, ethnically and culturally different from them is a critical part of the training.
Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis approached Morgan for assistance with launching such a program last year. The idea is that this collaboration between Morgan and the BPD will become a national model. Today’s gathering was the first in what is expected to be an ongoing program.
Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified Doctoral Research Institution offering more than 70 academic programs leading to bachelor’s degrees as well as programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. As Maryland’s Public Urban Research University, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. More information about the university is available at www.morgan.edu.
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Clinton R. Coleman or Larry Jones