Training provides proactive prevention measures in communities by addressing cultural diversity, bias, and de-escalation. The modules are interactive, engaging, and emphasize shared universal experiences. While typically delivered in person, the hybrid (online) model has allowed for an expanded reach of trainings, which are tuition-free and open to POST agencies and officers, deputies, dispatch, and management. The surprising aspect of the training has been the overwhelming positive feedback and response from law enforcement personnel regarding the constructive approaches presented to highly charged topics.
Peace Officer Standards Training Emphasizes Community
Since January 2021, UCLA Extension has collaborated with Get Safe, a California provider of safety and violence prevention training, to offer bias awareness and cultural sensitivity training for over 2,000 peace officers. As part of a $1.1 million Distance Learning Grant awarded by the State Commission of Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), the peace officer training focuses on community policing and positive outcomes.
With three hybrid programs running simultaneously, the shared mission of this collaboration is the betterment and safety of our communities “by bridging the divide between law enforcement and the community with respect, communication, and understanding,” according to Stuart Haskin, Executive Director and Founder of GET SAFE.
The scope of each 8-hour course module aims to change mindsets to change outcomes, with focus on reducing lethal and less-than-lethal force incidents, which in turn saves community lives.
The trainers are key to what makes the curriculum dynamic and the program a standout. Composed of current and former law enforcement officers and community members, GET SAFE’s trainers contextualize modules, reflect on shared experiences, and deeply touch on day-to-day scenarios experienced by peace offices, as well as perspectives of what the community may feel during contacts. As educators, trainers draw from their on-the ground experience and earned knowledge; as community members, they consider their contributions as sharing wisdom and giving back to the profession. The affinity and knowledge base connects with each cohort of participants.
“The award is timely and significant and points to increased focus of using progressive approaches by law enforcement in the State of California,” according to Eric A. Bullard, Dean, Continuing Education and UCLA Extension. “This program highlights how UCLA is affecting meaningful change in policing practices. The goal of the program is to bridge the gap of understanding about power, inequality, and injustice in our communities.”
It is anticipated that the trainings offered through UCLA Extension in collaboration with GET SAFE will reach 4,000 participants in 2021.