RALEIGH, N.C. - North Carolina's community colleges have kicked off an initiative to provide enhanced professional development training to the state's law enforcement officers.
Forty-five law enforcement instructors from 21 community colleges are participating in the first "Impartial Policing" event, which began Monday and continues Tuesday at Wake Tech's Public Safety Education Campus in Raleigh.
It is the first of four regional instructor-training events statewide. About 150 instructors are expected to take part, and they will then share this standardized "Impartial Policing" content with police departments and sheriff's offices at no cost to the officers. Other regional instructor-training sessions will be held in August at Craven Community College in New Bern, Randolph Community College in Asheboro and Western Piedmont Community College in Morganton.
The initiative was made possible by the State Board of Community Colleges, which approved $100,000 in reserve funding in June.
The goal is to serve North Carolina's law enforcement agencies by extending additional instruction on implicit bias, impartial policing and collaborative community engagement. The instructor training is provided by the International Academy of Public Safety and the initiative is managed by Wake Tech on behalf of the State Board of Community Colleges and the NC Community College System Office.
"By offering this enhanced instruction, community colleges are responding to a critical issue in their communities," said Peter Hans, president of the NC Community College System. "As we have seen in recent weeks, there is widespread national concern about tragic deaths that have occurred. We are working to provide the most comprehensive training possible to those whose difficult mission is to protect and serve the public."
Requirements for Basic Law Enforcement Training and annual in-service training for North Carolina's law enforcement agencies are set by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission and the North Carolina Sheriffs' Education and Training Standards Commission. The state's community colleges are approved to provide this training across the state and also partner with local police departments and sheriffs' offices to provide additional instruction to meet identified local needs.
Jeff Robinson, dean of the public safety education division at Wake Tech, said the additional training can help agencies achieve a shift in culture and a better relationship with the community.
"Change must take place inwardly before change is manifested externally," Robinson said.
North Carolina's 58 community colleges serve about 700,000 students a year in college-transfer programs, short-term workforce training, high school dual enrollment, career and technical education and adult basic education.