CMPD launches new training program addressing racial bias

UNCC Charlotte held an event Wednesday on excessive force by police officers towards African-American males.

CMPD Police Chief Kerr Putney says his department is taking steps to train every officer about racial bias and how it relates to use of force in minority communities.

"It is impacting young black males more than anybody across the country. we want to make sure no biases are playing into that," Chief Putney said.

So far 20 people at CMPD are registered for a year long pilot program with training sessions. "Right now we are trying to understand the dynamic. we are trying to put it into context. also making sure we are as thoughtful and intentional about why it's happening," Chief Putney said.

While the cultural competence course is underway, CMPD is continuing to look at ways to educate officers about unconscious bias.

The room was filled with students wanting to know where the chief stands on cultural issues regarding police shootings, racial tensions and police oversight.

Putney says it all comes down to talking about biases officers may bring with them to the work place and how that can effect the kind of work they do.

"You can't leave any of your biases anywhere. but you have to be able to acknowledge, understand them and mitigate them. that's the process we're doing," Chief Putney said.

The event was put together to honor UNCC Charlotte's annual constitution day celebration. Putney graduated from the school in 1992.