By Terry Baxter, Law Enforcement and Safety Specialist

By now everyone should be aware Governor Ricketts signed into law LB 924 that addresses many requirements to prevent racial profiling from occurring within the State of Nebraska. The key component of the new legislation requires at least two hours of annual anti-bias and implicit bias training for all Nebraska law enforcement designed to minimize apparent or actual racial profiling.

Introduced in 2013, N.R.S. § 20-501 states; racial profiling is a practice that presents a great danger to the fundamental principles of a democratic society. It is abhorrent and cannot be tolerated. Every law enforcement agency in the state has a racial profiling policy. N.R.S. §20-504 required every law enforcement agency to adopt a written racial profiling prevention policy on or before January 1, 2014.

There is nothing wrong with law enforcement being proactive and aggressive when it comes to investigating suspected violations of law, as the one main job task in law enforcement is to actively enforce state and federal laws as long as it can be done in a responsible and professional manner, without the regard of race, ethnicity or national origin. Race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, culture groups should never be used as the sole basis for reasonable suspicion or probable cause, so the reason for training and the why it serves as a main catalysis in transforming a successful comprehensive plan
addressing racial biases.

Many recent use of force events at the hands of law enforcement agencies across the nation have triggered protests bringing attention to ongoing concerns with racism. Social media is running ramped with videos and posts proposing eliminating law enforcement services or reducing funding for law enforcement agencies. There have been movements to remove Civil War monuments and calls to rename college and pro sport teams as well as eliminate long standing traditions that many view as being racist. Nationally, regardless of race, society believes that racial profiling is a significant social concern which can clearly be seen day after day in news and publication resources.

To ensure profiling concerns don’t occur within your agency, checks and balances are implemented, one being policy. The purpose of policy is to affirm a commitment to unbiased policing in all encounters between law enforcement and any person. Unbiased policing policy is designed to reinforce procedures that serve to ensure public confidence and mutual trust through the provisions of services in a fair and equitable fashion. But most importantly, when policy is followed, it can protect personnel from unwanted accusations of misconduct, when they act within confines adopted procedures and law.

NIRMA model Racial Profiling policy was established in 2010 and revised in 2013, if NIRMA policy is utilized by your agency, you would had been providing or receiving annual training on the prevention of racial profiling according to the language under the training section. As previously noted in this article, LB 924 requires a minimum of two hours of annual antibias and implicit bias training which will be revised in NIRMA model policy (training section) to comply with state statute.

I have received numerous correspondences since the bill was signed, asking if NIRMA will be putting together training to address the new annual training requirements, which must be completed before the end of this calendar year. I wanted to pass along the following, NIRMA is looking into on-line training that would meet the required standards noted in LB 924. By utilizing the on-line sessions personnel will be able to access and complete the training at any time. The plan is to hopefully have this topic of training available to our members by this fall. Once training is up and running, notification will be sent out to our member sheriff offices, so the short version we are working to achieve this training goal.

Additional: Sheriff’s should be expecting revised NIRMA model policies addressing Response to Resistance (Use of Force) and Bias Policing (Racial Profiling) coming out this fall, but in the meantime and as always if you need assistance or have any questions please feel free to contact me.

For more information or to request training involving law enforcement and/or corrections operations., contact Terry at: terry@nirma.info, or (402) 686-9332.

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