For the fourth year, Cap Times reporters have asked several Madisonians to share "bright ideas" they have for the coming year. We will publish the 2017 edition of Bright Ideas throughout the next week.
Although originally formed to educate law enforcement personnel specifically about implicit bias and its effects, the MPD's Justice Under the Radar training group has recently partnered with organizations as diverse as the State Bar of Wisconsin, the Dane County Communications Center, the National Association of Social Workers and the University of Wisconsin Law School in an effort to critique current discriminatory structures and strategize how to eliminate bias throughout the criminal justice system. This past fall, JUtR was invited to present alongside Dr. Rachel Godsil, a nationally-renowned expert on implicit bias and current Research Director of the Perception Institute, at a training for police, prosecutors and judges working in Dane County.
As police officers, we often encounter people of all genders, nationalities, creeds and ethnicities on the worst day of their respective lives. Bearing witness to behavior that may be atypical — albeit not in and of itself violent or disruptive — provides us a unique perspective on the myriad factors that influence and condition an individual’s choices and behavior. This knowledge allows us to foster new ways of conceptualizing not only cultural differences, but also the wide array of emotions and experiences that unite us. As fellow community members equally desirous of a fairer and safer world, we do not espouse the idea that a philosophical bifurcation exists between “police” and “the community,” but rather look forward to working in 2017 with every member of our diverse and wonderful city.
This article has been updated to reflect the correct name of the State Bar of Wisconsin.