DC police department requires officers to visit African-American history museum

Officers in Washington, D.C.’s police department are now required to visit the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to confront the “troubling history” of police-minority conflict.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) plans to have all 3,800 sworn officers and 660 civilian members complete bias training by the end of the summer, CNN reported Tuesday.

MPD Chief Peter Newsham said the trip to the museum shows “poignant stories” of historical injustices.

{mosads}”I think there are some that would like to ignore that troubling history of law enforcement in our country, but we believe it’s critically important that it remains a part of our education and understanding,” Newsham said. “And most importantly, it’s something we can learn from.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the training program, which officially started in January, addresses issues of bias and deadly force used against minorities.

“We are excited that with Chief Newsham’s leadership, more people in our city, specially police officers, will understand the African-American experience in the city, and how it affects the work that they do today,” Bowser said, according to CNN.

The training program is being conducted through the University of the District of Columbia Community College, WTOP reported.

Starting at 6 a.m., officers will spend a day participating in lectures and museum tours. They will also spend time in Washington neighborhoods to better understand community policing.

“The community is more diverse, more cultural. You have to be more aware of that and police that way. You know, everybody wants to be heard and has a different story; and everybody is not the same,” said Master Police Officer Curtis Coleman.

Coleman, who trains cadets at the D.C. Police Academy, told WTOP the training will help make cadets leaving the training academy a “well-rounded officer.”

The museum, which opened in 2016, has served as an educational tool for politicians and Washington visitors.

In February, Vice President Pence cast the museum as “hallowed ground” and said it served as a reminder of the country’s “difficult past” with racial inequality.

After President Trump disinvited the Golden State Warriors from visiting the White House, the NBA champions still flew to Washington to visit the museum.

Tags African American history Donald Trump national museum of african american history and culture police departments racial bias Smithsonian Washington D.C. Washington DC

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